THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - The maximum capacity crowd at the newly constructed William Rolland Stadium will never forget the first-ever home night game in Cal Lutheran football history. Trailing 24-0 at the half No. 20 Cal Lutheran completed its comeback with 16 seconds left to defeat No. 13 Redlands, 28-24.
Box Score: CLU 28, UR 24 - F
Cal Lutheran climbed back to within a 24-21 deficit with just over three minutes left in regulation. Redlands elected to punt facing fourth-and-short near midfield and pinned the Kingsmen down at their own two-yard line.
"We were hoping to kick a field goal to tie, but thinking touchdown to win it," said Head Coach Ben McEnroe.
Quarterback Jake Laudenslayer put his coach's thoughts into action as he engineered a 10-play, 98-yard drive. He capped it off by plunging in from one yard out in the final seconds to give Cal Lutheran a four-point lead with only seconds remaining.
"I have never seen anything like that," said McEnroe. "You learn so many life lessons in this game; today they learned you keep fighting as long as you have a chance. That's what we built this program on and it's great to see it come to fruition."
Most of the CLU contingent was resigned to the fact that Redlands dominated the first quarter rushing for 167 yards and two touchdowns. CLU trailed 17-0 after one frame when the Bulldogs conducted a nine-play, 80-yard drive and scored just 10 seconds before halftime to score a morale busting touchdown and take a 24-0 lead.
"We were embarrassed at our first half performance," said McEnroe. "We told them 'you are going to lose our (SCIAC) championship trophy if we don't start focusing on one play at a time.'"
After some stringent second half defense and 28 unanswered points on offense, Cal Lutheran can rest easy for at least another week.
UR quarterback Chad Hurst had 10 carries for 86 yards and a touchdown on the ground to go along with 97 yards and a passing touchdown in the first half alone. The CLU defense then held Redlands to only 67 total offensive yards in the second half forcing five punts, a missed field goal and a final play interception by Luis Villavicencio in the end zone to preserve a victory.
CLU opened the second half converting a pair of third downs on its first drive en route to its first points courtesy of a Daniel Mosier touchdown run. Each of Cal Lutheran's four second half touchdown drives were nine plays or more and 61 yards or longer.
Cal Lutheran went to a hurry-up, aerial attack more frequently after rushing for negative yardage in the first half. Laudenslayer finished 25-of-42 for 313 yards and found Eric Rogers for both passing touchdowns.
"We put the game in (Laudenslayer's) hands. We wanted to be more balanced but then we had to rely on him."
He threw for over 200 yards in the second half, but on the final drive a 26-yard run down to the nine yard line and his final rush attempt of the game were key plays in the game-winning possession. Laudenslayer found nine different targets, including himself, led by Rogers who finished with six catches for 120 yards.
Cal Lutheran (2-1, 1-0 SCIAC) will host Whittier (1-2, 0-1 SCIAC) on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 1 p.m.