Redlands Football's Second-Half Comeback Squashed by Blocked Kick

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The University of Redlands football team's valiant comeback efforts fell short in tonight's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) showdown against defending champion Cal Lutheran University, as the Bulldogs saw the potentially game-winning field goal blocked with 16 seconds left in the game. Down for much of the contest, the Maroon and Gray overcame a 12-point halftime deficit while holding CLU to only three points in the second half. But it was not enough as Redlands suffered a disappointing 22-24 loss to the Kingsmen during Take a Kid to the Game Night in front of 1,559 fans at Ted Runner Stadium.

After trading possessions on the opening drives, Redlands initiated the scoring with a 40-yard field goal by senior kicker Joe MacMillan (Pasadena, CA) with 10:57 remaining in the first quarter.

But the lead was short-lived as the Kingsmen responded with an eight-play, 74-yard drive into the Bulldog end zone, making it a 7-3 game. Deme'Trek Chambers carried the ball 14 yards for the first of his three touchdowns on the night.

The second stanza saw an exchange of touchdowns, with Redlands taking the ball 70 yards. Freshman quarterback Bobby Brown (Ladera Ranch, CA) found junior wide receiver Tyler Aubrey (San Diego, C) on a 16-yard strike for the score. Redlands went for two but missed on the conversion.

CLU responded with seven points of its own as Chambers ran the ball in from seven yards out. Jackson Damron nailed the PAT, leading to a 14-9 advantage for the Kingsmen.

Two possessions later, the Bulldogs seemed to have their backs against the wall as senior quarterback Dan Selway (Villa Park, CA) threw his first interception of the season, which eventually led to a CLU score after a 43-yard return by J.D. Austin. Chambers scampered in from the 2-yard line to make it a 21-9 ball game at the break.

After the on-field activities of Take a Kid to the Game® Night, the Bulldogs erupted in the third stanza by pouring on 13 points to nab a 22-21 lead. Senior defensive back Mike Nicolini (Novato, CA) picked off Kingsmen quarterback Jake Laudenslayer and ran it back for a touchdown, inspiring the home crowd to its feet with 4:02 to go in the period.

On CLU's ensuing possession, a repeat performance was nearly pulled off as junior defensive back Josh Herrera (Vista, CA) reeled in a Laudenslayer pass and headed for the end zone. Despite an acrobatic dive over the goal line, the referees called it back to the seven-yard line. One play later, Selway made it official with a seven-yard completion to senior tight end Corey Sanchez (Salinas, CA). Following the MacMillan PAT, Redlands regained the lead with 2:23 remaining in the third.

Not to be outdone, he Kingsmen fought back on their next opportunity, driving the ball 47 yards over five-and-a-half minutes to set up a successful 35-yard field goal by Damron.

Down 22-24 with 11:48 left in the game, the Bulldogs appeared poised to finish their comeback efforts for an exciting victory. But the Maroon and Gray fumbled the ball, giving CLU excellent field position. Nonetheless, the Redlands defense stepped up and forced the Kingsmen to punt.

Starting on their own 40, Selway marched the Bulldogs all the way down to the Kingsmen 23, putting the ball in excellent field-goal range for MacMillan. After three attempts at a pass into the end zone, Redlands looked to a field goal to steal the win. With 16 seconds left in the game, MacMillan lined up a 40-yarder for the win, but the CLU special teams managed to block the kick, resulting in heartbreak and defeat for the Bulldogs.

Overall, Selway threw for 154 yards while connecting with six different receivers. Graduate student wide receiver Evan Reuter (Cameron Park, CA) made seven catches for 81 yards.

Senior running back Daylan Swedlow (Lake Arrowhead, CA) carried the ball 10 times for 42 yards.

Senior defensive back Rudy Vidales (Los Angeles, CA) led the Bulldog defense with 10 total tackles, including seven solo hits. He also recorded a blocked punt early in the game, which inspired an eventual Redlands score.

For CLU, Laudenslayer registered 156 total passing yards, finding Eric Rogers on four occasions for 43 yards.

Chambers served as the Kingsmen's workhorse, carrying the ball 28 times for a net gain of 93 yards and three touchdowns.

Austin was credited with a team-high12 tackles and three break-ups.

Redlands (2-1, 0-1 SCIAC) heads to Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on Oct. 9 for a 7 p.m. SCIAC game against the Sagehens.