The No. 17 University of Redlands football team made it five in a row against the Pirates of Whitworth University (WA), earning a 30-20 decision in Spokane on Saturday afternoon at the Pine Bowl. While taking advantage of two key Pirate fumbles, the Bulldogs broke an early 7-7 tie and never looked back.
The Maroon and Gray initiated the scoring when junior quarterback Chad Hurst (Dixon, CA) connected with junior tight end Greyson Alman (Fontana, CA) on a 13-yard pass into the end zone with 1:10 left in the opening quarter.
Although Whitworth eventually answered with a scoring drive of its own, the momentum shifted back to the Bulldogs on their subsequent two possessions.
First, Hurst led the Maroon and Gray down field on a seven-play, 68-yard drive into the end zone during which he found three different receivers. Sophomore wide receiver Taylor Irwin (Rocklin, CA), the 2010 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference's (SCIAC) Rookie of the Year, served as Hurst's top target, collecting a 17-yard strike for a first down on third and four and then recording a 23-yard scoring reception just four plays later.
After sophomore kicker Kevin Grady's (Seattle, WA) 67-yard kickoff, Whitworth returned the ball for 20 yards only to fumble it into the hands of Redlands' senior linebacker Tony Santini (San Jose, CA). With excellent field position at the Pirate 23-yard line, it took Hurst only one attempt to find senior wide receiver Taylor Chapatte (San Diego, CA) for the touchdown.
With the Bulldogs leading 21-7 with less than three minutes remaining in the half, Whitworth orchestrated a seven-play, 65-yard drive into the promise land. Austin Ehlo collected his second scoring catch of the day.
With 48 seconds remaining in the second quarter, Hurst made the most of opportunity by finding senior wide receiver Mark Richardson II (Los Angeles, CA) for gains of 18 and 23 yards. Redlands settled for a 35-yard field goal by Grady with three seconds left but held a 10-point lead at halftime.
Both teams returned to action in the third quarter with tighter defenses and more methodical styles of play, which led to a low-scoring second half.
Whitworth's most lucrative opportunity came when Scott Carr nabbed an interception for a seven-yard return. His team put together a 33-yard drive that eventually led to a touchdown, cutting the Pirates' deficit to four after a blocked PAT by Redlands' sophomore defensive lineman Steven Locke.
On the subsequent Redlands possession, the Maroon and Gray utilized the run game more effectively with sophomore running back David Woolbert (Irvine, CA) collecting 22 of his 41 rushing yards. Hurst also contributed a seven-yard scamper for a first down in the middle of the series. Redlands eventually converted the score when a Whitworth defender tipped Hurst's pass into the arms of senior wide receiver Kyle Romero (Santee, CA) in the end zone.
The Bulldogs halted the Pirates' final red-zone effort when senior defensive lineman Spencer Minshew (Tustin, CA) wrapped up opposing quarterback Zac Hill for the sack and fumble. Although Whitworth recovered the ball, it faced a fourth-and-15 situation and the Redlands defense held its ground, earning the turnover on downs.
Hurst finished his second collegiate start with a 22-for-37 showing for 268 yards and four touchdowns. He added 77 yards on the ground as the team's most effective ball carrier. Hurst spread the wealth to a variety of receivers, finding Irwin for 99 yards on eight strikes.
Defensively, junior linebacker Jordan Garcia (Carlsbad, CA) led the strong effort with 10 tackles, including two for a loss of six yards. Senior defensive back Josh Herrera (Vista, CA)) added five solo hits and two assisted tackles to go along with one break-up.
Redlands now owns the series against Whitworth with a 6-3 record.
Redlands (2-0) looks forward to another bye before facing off against No. 19 Cal Lutheran University on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. in Thousand Oaks. The duel marks the opening SCIAC contest of the 2011 season.