While racking up 667 yards of total offense for 10 touchdowns, the University of Redlands football team kicked off Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) competition with a 72-13 thrashing over Occidental College on Saturday night in Eagle Rock. The Bulldogs stormed out to a 59-0 lead through the first, three quarters before utilizing nearly every available player in a total-team win.
"We challenged the team to play at a high level of execution, no matter what was going on or who was in the game," Head Coach Mike Maynard said. "I think we did that with a lot of energy and excitement."
Redlands entered the end zone for a touchdown on two of its first three drives, as junior running backs Camryn Davis (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) and Josiah Alvira (Danville, CA) each carried the ball for the score and the 14-0 lead after the first quarter.
The Bulldog defense did its part to limit Oxy's opportunities, with junior linebacker Nick Castro (La Verne, CA) and junior defensive lineman Joe Munroe (Costa Mesa, CA) spearheading the amazing effort.
Early in the second quarter, junior quarterback Levi Plante (Lake Arrowhead, CA) effectively orchestrated a six-play, 52-yard drive that culminated in his 12-yard scamper into the end zone to make it 21-0. The biggest gain of the drive came on a 23-yard strike to senior wide receiver Kyle Kabeary (Indio, CA).
After senior defensive back Daniel Gonzales (Mentone, CA) hauled in a remarkable interception on the Tigers' ensuing drive, the Bulldogs marched the ball downfield 71 yards for a 36-yard field goal from junior kicker Nathan Hierlihy (Redondo Beach, CA).
The half ended with one more score by the Maroon and Gray, as Plante and Alvira joined forces for an effective drive that covered 30 yards on just four plays. The final snap resulted in a 23-yard pass into the end zone for the 31-0 advantage.
While constantly interchanging personnel, the Bulldogs continued to press offensively, as junior running backs Conner Kennedy (Olympia, WA) and Matthew Hayashi (Hacienda Heights, CA) provided excellent yardage to start the third quarter. Hayashi carried the ball for a touchdown on an eight-yard jaunt, which was set up by multiple quality rushes by Kennedy. Plante and senior running back Bryce Broadwell (Henderson, NV) also combined forces as a great tandem during the subsequent scoring drive before junior wide receiver Xavier Villanueva (Peoria, AZ) hauled in the six-yard scoring strike.
Later in the game, freshman quarterback Nathan Martinez (Highland, CA) took over the play-calling duties for the Maroon and Gray and made the most of his opportunity by leading the team into the end zone on three-consecutive Bulldog drives. He also rushed for all three touchdowns, accounting for 73 yards on the scoring plays alone.
Now leading 65-7, Redlands continued to send in new players, as freshman quarterback Sonny Robison (Minden, NV) and freshman wide receiver Kai Kang (Sammamish, WA) connected for the visitors' final touchdown.
Plante finished the night as the Maroon and Gray's top quarterback with a 13-for-16 effort for 186 yards, thanks in part to the outstanding performance of the offensive line, including junior Tommy Garcia (La Habra, CA) at center. Broadwell served as the team's top receiver with 94 yards on four catches.
Overall, Redlands recorded 35 first downs with a balanced effort through the air and on the ground. The team's 667 yards of total offense on the night tied for second in Bulldog football history, while scoring 72 points is the most since 1999.
The Bulldogs succeeded by using a defense by committee, as numerous players registered at least one tackle.
Redlands (2-1, 1-0 SCIAC) returns home to Ted Runner Stadium on Saturday, October 7, for Take a Kid to the Game Night against the University of La Verne. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.