With the excitement of Homecoming in the air, the No. 16/17 University of Redlands football team provided a 38-28 victory over the Leopards of the University of La Verne in front of a season-high home crowd of 2,455 at Ted Runner Stadium. After taking a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter, the Maroon and Gray relied on back-to-back 14-point stanzas to prevail in Saturday's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference competition.
After a slow start, Redlands jumped out to a 14-0 lead before La Verne responded with a six-point play midway through the second quarter.
However, the Bulldogs never faced a deficit and kept the Leopards at bay by a minimum of eight points through the final whistle.
Redlands' first strike came on an eight-play, 58-yard drive, highlighted by junior quarterback Chad Hurst's (Dixon, CA) completions to senior wide receiver Tyler Aubrey (San Diego, CA) and junior wide receiver Aaron Atkins (Fallbrook, CA) for a combined 37 yards. Atkins' first catch of the day came just out of Aubrey's reach and into his hands for the 18-yard touchdown.
The team took advantage of solid field position at the start of the second stanza, as junior running back Brad Crisanty (Granite Bay, CA) carried the ball for a total of 28 yards during this series, leading up to Hurst's two-yard scamper into the end zone. Halfway through the drive, Hurst also found junior wide receiver David Metcalf (Northridge, CA) on an important second-and-six play for 13 yards and the first down.
This season's fast and efficient offensive approach by the Bulldogs was evident on their subsequent score. After sophomore wide receiver Taylor Irwin (Rocklin, CA) returned the Leopards' first kick-off of the game for 49 yards to the ULV 38-yard line, Hurst connected with senior wide receiver Kyle Romero (Santee, CA), who successfully made his way into the end zone.
With a 15-point lead, the Redlands defense retook the field and made every effort to stop the Leopards' eventual fourth-and-goal play. After La Verne moved the ball to the four-yard line, the Bulldogs held against the subsequent three attempts to score until junior running back Josh Jones (Ontario, CA) finally penetrated the goal line to make it 21-13 in favor of the Bulldogs.
After the celebratory halftime presentation for Homecoming, the Bulldogs rattled off two touchdowns while allowing just one in the third quarter.
Once again, the Redlands offense took care of business in a time-efficient manner, scoring on just two plays for 67 yards, highlighted by Crisanty's 63-yard saunter to the house.
Nonetheless, the Leopards fought back putting together six plays for 77 yards for the score on their second drive of the third frame.
For just the second time all game, the Bulldogs orchestrated a series that included 10 or more plays. Relying mainly on the rush, the Maroon and Gray successfully drove to the promise land when Hurst hit junior tight end Greyson Alman (Fontana, CA) for a nine-yard touchdown strike. Although the ensuing PAT was originally blocked, the Leopards were called on offside, leading to a second chance that sophomore kicker Kevin Grady (Seattle, WA) crushed through the uprights.
Redland iced the game when Grady punched in a 41-yard field goal with 9:31 left in the game.
However, ULV refused to go away and eventually scored a touchdown on a nine-play, 85-yard drive with 6:00 remaining.
The teams traded possessions but the Bulldogs ultimately ended up with the ball ran down the clock, resulting in their sixth win of the season.
Hurst finished with 173 yards through the air for three touchdowns on a 13-for-28 performance. He found multiple targets, including a trio of them for scoring plays. Atkins led the Bulldogs with 47 yards on just three receptions.
Crisanty racked up 104 yards as the team's primary ball-carrier. Hurst also chipped in 70 yards on 13 attempts.
Senior quarterback Thomas Arguello (Richmond, CA) provided an impressive day for La Verne, amassing 357 yards on a 30-for-49 showing. His versatile receiving corps included junior tight end Christian Winnewisser (Santa Barbara, CA) for 62 yards on six catches.
Junior linebacker Jordan Garcia (Carlsbad, CA) continued to be a force on Redlands' defense with his team-leading nine tackles, while senior defensive lineman Brett Hutter (Ontario, CA) racked up five quarterback hurries.
Senior linebacker Fillip Marcelin (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) stepped up for the Leopards, notching a game-high 14 tackles.
Redlands (6-1, 4-1 SCIAC) looks forward to celebrating Senior Night on November 5 when it welcomes Whittier College to Ted Runner Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff.