Riverside Sheriff’s Association President Bill Young may have put it best when he said the Association’s members do a lot more than simply respond to calls and guard inmates.
“They also give back to the community in a way that helps shape lives,” Young said.
In furthering that mission, the RSA’s latest act of benevolence was a $15,000 sponsorship of the fourth annual high school football all-star game between the Southeast Riverside County prep all-stars and the Northwest Riverside County prep all-stars played Jan. 18 at Citrus Hill High School, in Perris, CA.
The RSA has sponsored the event, which features top high school seniors from throughout Riverside County, since its inception four years ago.
“It’s just a way of giving back to the kids, giving them one last shot to go out there and letting them know that cops are more than just the people who drive black and whites,” Young said.
The Southeast all-stars defeated the Northwest stars 23-7, thanks in part to the play of Southeast linebacker Elijah Robinson of Citrus Hill, who made eight tackles to earn the MVP award for the contest.
But before the contest got underway, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco was given the honor of participating in the ceremonial coin toss at midfield.
“This is fantastic,” Bianco said of the RSA’s sponsorship of the game. “It’s a way for us in law enforcement to give back to the community. We want to be here to support the kids. We are just a whole bunch of parents ourselves and so for us to be able to pool our resources and be able to help these kids is a good thing.”
The Southeast was leading 3-0 in the third quarter, before Southeast quarterback Michael Harkins of Linfield Christian scored on a 2-yard run to put his team ahead, 10-0.
A 43-yard touchdown run from Justin Manqueros of Linfield Christian made the score 17-0.
The Southeast led 20-0 in the fourth quarter when Rancho Verde’s Jordan Jefferson returned a kick 98 yards down the left side line for a touchdown to account for the Northwest’s only points.
Southeast quarterback Brock White of Chaparral completed eight of 14 passes for 94 yards for the Southeast.
Southeast receiver Antoine Sullivan of San Jacinto caught five passes for 65 yards.
Elsinore running back Gemini Batimama rushed for 62 yards on four carries to lead the Southeast’s ground attack.
The all-star game was started four years ago by local sports radio personalities Brian Arrington and Eddie Talbert of Fox Sports 1350AM/Riverside.
Prior to the Northwest-Southeast game, another all-star was held, pitting Riverside all-stars vs. San Bernardino all stars.
Talbert and Arrington wanted to see an all-star event featuring players exclusively from Riverside County, Talbert said.
Arrington said he holds a special place in his heart for the law enforcement community.
“I know interacting with the police has changed my life,” Arrington said. “I grew up in Compton and when I was 13 my mother got divorced and married a cop and we moved to Downey and it changed my entire life.”
“The RSA hopes to add prep all-star game for basketball,” Young said.