2011 Preview: Bulldog Football Tackles Goals with Relentless Pursuit
The 2011 edition of Redlands football takes to the field with great expectations of building upon last year's exciting 8-1 season behind the strong leadership of its veterans and the talents of its incoming class. As the Bulldogs remain committed to their trio of annual goals, their focus keeps them in check while preparing for another historical run. A direct approach of winning to "make history" allows Redlands to boast a solid tradition with more conference titles (10) and a better win percentage (68%) than any other college or university in California for the past 20 years.
With Head Coach Mike Maynard at the helm for his 24th season, Redlands possesses a solid core of coaches to guide the team through the program's 102nd campaign.
The offense features new leadership with the addition of Jim Good, a former head coach at the NCAA Division III level, as the Bulldogs' offensive coordinator. Among his staff, familiar faces Ric Lucore Jr. and Kevin Davis combine efforts with versatile James Rosenbury II.
Under Joey Mariani's guidance as a second-year defensive coordinator, Redlands counts on his expertise to complement the knowledge of former Bulldog football players, Aaron Merlo and Tyler Sutton, as well as newcomer Martin Mays, who hails from regional foe Linfield College (OR).
In addition, Mike Spellman returns to help with the kickers and punters.
Beyond the sidelines, the Bulldogs exude excellent leadership and talent in all positions on the field.
"I like the way this team has prepared throughout the off season," said Maynard. "They are a very dedicated, committed group with great team chemistry. They are truly exceptional young men who will represent Redlands well."
Redlands looks to six options at quarterback to replace the talented and memorable Dan Selway '10, who racked up nearly 7,500 passing yards in his career.
"Depth and talent, as well as experience and youth, make up this position," Maynard commented. "Anything can happen this fall with determining our starting quarterback."
Look for junior captain Chad Hurst (Dixon, CA) to have an edge after a productive off-season. However, senior transfer Les Obie (Huntington Beach, CA) strives to push him for playing opportunities following his stint at UNLV.
In addition, sophomores Will King (Scottsdale, AZ), Andrew Selway (Villa Park, CA), and Adam Larriva (Tucson, AZ) show promise for a favorable future at Redlands. A welcome addition to the position group, sophomore transfer Daniel Davis (Seattle, WA) joins the squad as a gifted runner and passer from Bethel University (MN).
Complementing this diverse offering at quarterback, a viable receiving crew returns to create a multi-faceted air assault for the Bulldogs. Seniors Tyler Aubrey (San Diego, CA), Taylor Chapatte (San Diego, CA) and Kyle Romero (Santee, CA) head up this formidable bunch. Following a solid junior campaign in which he made 20 catches for 183 yards, Aubrey offers the experience that makes him a likely top target. Count on Chapatte and Romero to also gain from their success of a year ago when they logged more than 60 receiving yards each for a squad that benefitted from a versatile list of receivers.
In addition, senior Mark Richardson (Los Angeles, CA) looks forward to an injury-free season in which he capitalizes on his incredible potential as a receiver threat.
The junior class boasts Aaron Atkins (Fallbrook, CA) and David Metcalf (Northridge, CA), who strive to improve upon their part-time starting roles that produced solid numbers in 2010. Juniors Jeremy Hanson (Fallbrook, CA) and Ryan Curnel (Simi Valley, CA), along with sophomore Justin Hale (Malibu, CA), also compete for on-field opportunities in the upcoming campaign.
Sophomore Taylor Irwin (Rocklin, CA), last season's SCIAC Newcomer of the Year, and hard-working sophomore Derek deVera (Hercules, CA) round out the multi-faceted list of returning receivers.
The Bulldogs also hold high expectations for freshmen Tyler Bassler (San Diego, CA), Connor Waitkus (Henderson, NV) and James Ramirez (La Verne, CA) as a talented trio of rookie options. In addition, sophomore Kyle Brown (Covina, CA) offers a lot of potential as a sizeable and fast quarterback-turned-receiver.
To balance the team's offensive options, Redlands works to yield a strong running attack with Second-Team All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) performer, junior Brad Crisanty (Granite Bay, CA), setting the tone with his team-leading numbers from a year ago. Sophomore Bobby Brown (Ladera Ranch, CA) makes the shift from quarterback to running back, bringing incredible athleticism and heart to this position. Furthermore, senior Tyson Moll (Bountiful, UT) provides strength as a tremendous blocker at fullback, while freshman Michael Tootle (Las Vegas, NV) supplies incredible depth at this position.
"Great competition is in store with these all-around athletes in the mix," added Maynard.
Moreover, sophomore sensation David Woolbert (Irvine, CA) returns to action after being sidelined with an injury and promises to make the most of his opportunities. Junior Alex Bell (Davis, CA) also sat out last year and strives to put his explosive skills to work.
Although the team faces the loss of tight end standouts, Pete Tobiason '10 and Corey Sanchez '11, the Bulldogs look to senior Brad Walsh (La Verne, CA) and junior transfer Greyson Alman (Fontana, CA) to step up to the challenge of filling this void. Freshman phenomenon Emeka Anigbogu (Temecula, CA) also vies for playing time at this critical spot on the field.
With the squad's firepower in place, Redlands relies on a determined and experienced collection of contributors to make up the critical offensive line. Leading the charge, senior captain and First-Team All-Conference honoree Chris Radtke (Redlands, CA) serves an influential and powerful role for the Bulldogs. Sophomore Tyler Decker (Simi Valley, CA) adds to the presence of the O-line, while big and physical freshmen Mason Marino (Reno, NV) and Hunter McMillan (Newbury Park, CA) hold promise for the future.
Returning starters, seniors Charlie Yaeger IV (Mission Viejo, CA) and Sam Albrecht (Yorba Linda, CA), solidify the tackle position for the Maroon and Gray, while junior Michael Garcia (Redlands, CA) provides great strength at the end of the line. In addition, look for sophomores Matt Ashman (Cypress, CA) and Christian Martinez (Fontana, CA) to push their teammates while becoming better every day. Finally, sophomore Jordan Ruiz (Concord, CA) brings size and depth to the tackle position.
Count on senior Randy Lay (Lake Havasu City, AZ), juniors Dylan Wood (Torrance, CA) and Peter Kinney (Newport Beach, CA), along with sophomore Jorge Cervantes (Indio, CA), to duke it out for the starting jobs at offensive guard. In addition, sophomore Robert Hamilton (Scottsdale, AZ) brings a big, physical presence as he develops under Good's schemes.
Finally, Redlands has high hopes for freshmen Ross Barlow (Mercer Island, WA), Aaron Hinkle (Lodi, CA), Nathan Thomas (Henderson, NV), and Zach Alford (Redding, CA) to catch on to the system as viable contenders among the offensive line.
Kicking for the Maroon and Gray, sophomore Kevin Grady (Seattle, WA) promises to improve the Bulldogs' accuracy in this facet of the game. Expect him to also back up senior punter Wes Norris (San Jose, CA), who returns as a decorated and talented option for Redlands. After his All-Conference performance in 2010, Norris strives to leave his mark on the SCIAC and beyond in his final season.
Another special teams standout, junior Carter Hersey (Tacoma, WA) returns as the Bulldogs' Kicking Game Player of the Year from 2010. A fast and tenacious athlete, sophomore Tyler Ewing (Sacramento, CA) strives for time on kicking teams and at linebacker.
On the other side of the ball, the Maroon and Gray finished out the 2010 campaign as the top defense among the conference and ranked 10th in the nation for total defense. Although the void of American Football Coaches Association All-American Mike Nicolini '11 must be addressed, Redlands returns a skilled contingent of defensive cogs to take care of business.
The linebacker corps boasts a slew of options, providing depth and versatility for the Bulldogs. Serving as the team's play-caller for the second year, All-Conference selection and junior captain Jordan Garcia (Carlsbad, CA) strives to lead by example with his big plays and unyielding passion for the game. In addition, senior Tony Santini (San Jose, CA) and junior Justin Butler (Poway, CA) both bring solid experience as All-SCIAC selections from the 2010 season. Finally, senior Kevin Reyes (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA) strives to take on the responsibilities at the middle and strong-side linebacker slots.
Count on junior college transfer Eric Wiersma (Bellflower, CA), and juniors Drew Blackwell (Redlands, CA), Sean Woods (Victorville, CA) and Matt Enos (Brentwood, CA), along with sophomore Trevor Manly (Diamond Bar, CA), to serve as important reserves for the linebacker crew. A journeyman for the defense, senior Brett Romero (Santee, CA) supplies a versatile option at linebacker as well as in the kicking game. Additionally, junior Sean Woods (Victorville, CA) brings speed and tenacity as another multi-talented athlete, while junior Anthony Stephens (Cave Creek, AZ) and sophomores Peter Lyons (Salt Lake City, UT) and Clayton Dobbs (Oakland, CA) provide added depth for this position group.
In addition, look for freshmen Griffin Lord (Upland, CA) and Jordan Kurth (Las Vegas, NV) and sophomore Scott Causey (Encinitas, CA) to build upon their solid preseason camps as the Bulldogs' future at this position. Sophomore Alec Goodman (Fontana, CA) and freshman Caleb Lenard (Rifle, CO) also offer solid depth to the linebackers, bringing a solid work ethic and determination.
The Redlands secondary boasts a strong presence from three-year starter and First-Team All-SCIAC honoree senior Josh Herrera (Vista, CA). After a banner year that included 45 tackles and two interceptions, he sits poised for a celebratory final campaign.
"Herrera is one of the best in Division III at his position," Mariani stated.
At cornerback, the team returns two-year starter senior Richard Dye II (Sacramento, CA) as a viable contributor, while senior All-SCIAC standout Vince Aiello (Fullerton, CA) strives to make the most of his fourth year as a starter. After battling injury in 2010, junior Vince DiPiero (San Jose, CA) mixes in as an excellent cover-corner and overall reliable player.
Redlands looks to juniors Scott Payton (Sammamish, WA), Nick Kido (Honolulu, HI), Zach Bowers (Cave Creek, AZ) and Mike Polvere (Novato, CA) to help fill the voids left by graduation at the pass-coverage positions. Sophomores Jessie Hobbs (San Diego, CA), Corey Farley (Lake Arrowhead, CA), Gabriel Lemus (San Diego, CA) and Brandon Paul (Fontana, CA), along with junior Zak Mella (Yucaipa, CA), blend in as additional options for the Bulldogs.
Furtermore, sophomore Zachary Gemmill (San Diego, CA) brings the talent to effectively adapt and contribute to the Bulldog defense, while junior Brandon Morris (Mission Viejo, CA) and sophomore Zach Roberts (Oregon City, OR) offer overall athletic abilities that bode well for the Maroon and Gray.
Finally, the team anticipates great contributions to the secondary from a talented freshman class, which includes high-school MVP Kevin Martin (Bellevue, WA).
"The Bulldog secondary will be a key part of the defense, not only for their talent, but for the leadership that they will bring to the team," commented Mariani.
The Maroon and Gray defensive line anticipates another great season with the return of all three starters from last year's team. After an outstanding debut with the program in 2010, All-Conference selection senior Brett Hutter (Ontario, CA) takes on a more pronounced leadership role for the Bulldogs. Count on him to continue making a name for himself as an exceptionally fast and strong player with the complete package.
In addition, seniors Spencer Minshew (Tustin, CA) and Randy Crim (Mentone, CA) solidify the returning foundation of the D-line. Minshew shores up his position at defensive end as a quick and tenacious competitor for the third season, while Crim offers a motor that never stops as a talented veteran at nose guard.
Pushing the returnees, senior transfer David Williams (Fontana, CA) joins the Bulldogs as a versatile option throughout the D-line. Senior transfer Arlando Brown (Perris, CA) also sits as a contender and junior Nick Zortea (Simi Valley, CA) works to move beyond his injury-riddled past into a successful season.
Furthermore, the Bulldogs are excited about the promising future for incoming freshmen Kevin Horn (Placentia, CA), Adonis Downey (Fontana, CA) and local product Jordan Bixler (Redlands, CA). Junior transfer Ryan Noriega (Glendora, CA) continues to reveal his toughness against the run while he works to develop under Mariani's system. In addition, freshman Denver Rogers (Montclair, CA) strives to put his talent to good use as he provides depth to the defense.
With more than 100 players on the roster, Redlands football boasts seemingly unlimited options when putting together the best combination of talent, determination and leadership. After being locked out of the postseason despite their near-perfect performance, the Bulldogs face the daunting task of improving upon their historical run of 2010 in order to return to top of the SCIAC and the NCAA Championships after a three-year hiatus. Under the direction of Maynard, Good and Mariani, this year's squad promises to bring the traditional "Och Tamale" spirit of Bulldog football to every outing on the gridiron.