The University of Redlands football program finished a strong 2012 season with five consecutive wins en route to a 6-3 overall record and a 6-1 showing in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) competition. Two of the Bulldogs' final wins came in shutout style and the final trio of triumphs totaled 174 points. In addition, the squad boasted multiple individual accolades, highlighted by the program's fifth All-America nod by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) in junior kickerKevin Grady (Seattle, WA).
Among the team highlights, the Maroon and Gray led all NCAA Division III foes in kickoff returns with 26.89 yards per attempt. Furthermore, the squad landed in the nation's top 25 in five other categories, including tied for 11th in scoring offense with 40 points per game.
Compared to the seven SCIAC schools, Redlands ranked first in eight areas, ranging from total defense to sacks allowed.
The season began with a high-caliber pair of non-conference foes in North Central College (IL) and Pacific Lutheran University (WA), testing the Bulldogs with an uncharacteristic duo of losses.
Motivated by the pursuit of excellence, the Maroon and Gray took advantage of the early bye to prepare for their conference opener against Occidental College. On September 29, the Bulldogs gave their fans plenty to cheer about, as they came alive with awesome execution while recording the sixth-highest scoring output in the history of the program during a 49-7 thrashing of the Tigers. Senior wide receiver Peter Adams (Laguna Niguel, CA) headlined the offense with 221 receiving yards as the third-most in single-game history, which propelled Redlands to an impressive 630 yards of offense. Adams was later named the Beyond Sports Network Division III Offensive Player of the Week.
In addition, senior quarterback Chad Hurst (Dixon, CA) unleashed an impressive 57.1 completion percentage for his highest number of passing yards of the season at 352.
On the other side of the ball, senior defensive back Brandon Morris (Mission Viejo, CA) snagged two interceptions, setting the stage for his team-leading six picks on the season.
A momentary setback came on October 6 as Redlands dropped a 35-45 decision to conference rival, Cal Lutheran University, in the inaugural Smudge Pot showdown.
Nonetheless, with Head Coach Mike Maynard and his staff guiding the way, the Bulldogs unleashed a relentless winning effort in their final five games, out-scoring these opponents by a 246-74 margin.
Against the University of La Verne, the Maroon and Gray utilized a 20-point explosion in the final quarter, including two touchdowns in a 47-second span, to notch a 40-21 victory. Highlighting the team's success, junior tight end Daryl Andersen (Grand Terrace, CA) enjoyed a breakout game that included six receptions for 157 yards and two touchdowns, which were the very first scores of his career. His efforts landed him on the D3football.com Team of the Week on October 16.
Complementing the work of the offense, the Redlands defense pulled in five interceptions and forced five Leopard turnovers.
The Bulldogs went on to haul in 21 picks on the season and led the conference in turnover margin. In addition to Morris, junior defensive back Zach Roberts (Oregon City, OR), senior defensive back Scott Payton (Sammamish, WA), senior defensive back Zak Mella (Yucaipa, CA), and senior defensive back Nicholas Kido (Honolulu, HI) each recorded two or more interceptions, illustrating the Maroon and Gray's stellar pass coverage in 2012.
In late October, Redlands commemorated Homecoming with a 32-13 win over Chapman University in the squads' inaugural SCIAC showdown. Behind the persistent performance of the Maroon and Gray offensive line, senior running back Brad Crisanty (Granite Bay, CA) spearheaded the victory with a 312 all-purpose yards, highlighted by a 93-yard kickoff return to the house.
During a critical juncture in the game, senior linebacker Jordan Garcia (Carlsbad, CA) stepped up with three big plays, including a pass break-up on third-and-long, to stifle the Panthers' drive. He finished the game with a team-high 14 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss of eight yards.
After honoring its class of 20 seniors in a pregame ceremony on October 27, the Bulldog football team continued the celebration on field with a 41-0 drubbing of the Stags of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges. Redlands benefitted from a diversified offense with five different players registering points, including senior wide receiver Mark Richardson II (Los Angeles, CA) on a 13-yard strike and Morris on a pick-six play.
The Bulldogs continued their shutout success on November 3, when they uncorked the second-most points in program history en route to a 70-0 rout of Pomona-Pitzer Colleges. Behind a steadfast offensive line, Redlands racked up 336 rushing yards, with freshman running back Curtis Tanquary (San Jose, CA) and junior running back Alex Bell (Davis, CA) each eclipsing the century mark and scoring three touchdowns.
In addition, the Bulldog defense held the Sagehens scoreless as the opponents accumulated just over 200 yards of total offense. Junior defensive lineman Steven Locke Jr. (Barstow, CA) piloted the play-stopping endeavor with eight tackles.
The Redlands football team completed the 2012 regular season with a bang, pounding the Poets of Whittier College by a score of 63-40. The fifth-consecutive victory for the Maroon and Gray sealed a second-place finish in the SCIAC in addition to marking the second-straight contest in which the Bulldogs put up 60 or more points. Redlands fired off an impressive 31 points during the second quarter alone. Junior wide receiver Taylor Irwin (Rocklin, CA) capped off a strong season as the team's top passing target with a 102-yard showing on seven catches for a pair of scores. Furthermore, the Bulldogs relied on a steady Grady to split the uprights on five occasions for a new school record, leading to 21 of the team's points on the day.
On the heels of the solid season, the Redlands football team raked in numerous awards, including 13 All-SCIAC selections, with Garcia headlining the accolades as the SCIAC Defensive Player of the Year.
Furthermore, senior offensive lineman Peter Kinney (Newport Beach, CA), Grady, Garcia and Irwin represented the Bulldogs on the D3football.com All-Region teams, while Garcia and Kinney continued to roll in the recognition as BSN All-Americans. Grady capped off the hardware list by becoming the fifth Bulldog in Redlands history to collect AFCA All-America honors and the 11th player to garner D3football.com All-America accolades.
Finally, the playing opportunities persisted for Garcia, Hurst, Kinney, and Crisanty, who all saw time in the 2012 All-American Bowl in Minnesota. Garcia and Hurst also gained international exposure as Redlands representatives at the Aztec Bowl in Mexico.
With numerous accomplishments, big performances, and substantial wins, the Redlands football team impressed during the 2012 season as a very competitive and talented crew of student-athletes. Although the loss of its phenomenal senior class is admittedly substantial, the returning veterans look forward to the challenge of continuing the program's journey from good to great with their eyes on a possible SCIAC title and return to the NCAA Championships in 2013.