The University of Redlands football team traveled to Orange on Saturday night for a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) showdown against the Chapman University Panthers. The Bulldogs put together a strong second half in an effort to overcome an early deficit but fell short in a 26-45 loss.
The Panthers came out energized at Wilson Field and quickly put up a pair of touchdowns to force the Maroon and Gray to play from behind for only the second time this season.
On Redlands' second drive of the game, the Bulldogs jumped on the board with a 24-yard field by sophomore kicker Alexander Raya (Jamul, CA) after marching 64 yards downfield on 11 plays.
Senior linebacker Mitch Shepherd (Seattle, WA) halted Chapman's ensuing drive on third and six with a big-time sack to regain possession for the Bulldogs. Fourteen plays and 64 yards later, Raya split the uprights for another field goal to make it 6-14 early in the second quarter.
Unfortunately for the visiting team, the Panthers mustered two more touchdowns before the end of the half to create a 22-point hole for the Bulldogs.
Nonetheless, Redlands came out with a rejuvenated spirit in the third quarter, as junior quarterback Levi Plante (Lake Arrowhead, CA) led the offense to the promise land on an efficient six-play, 62-yard drive. Plante found senior wide receivers Kyle Kabeary (Indio, CA) and Alex Andrighetto (Portola Valley, CA) on back-to-back, 25-yard strikes, before Plante connected with Kabeary for the seven-yard touchdown.
Chapman's next possession was cut short, as junior defensive lineman Joe Munroe (Costa Mesa, CA) forced a fumble and sophomore defensive back PJ Wilson (Modesto, CA) came up with the ball for a huge defensive effort.
Although Redlands could not capitalize offensively, the defense held the Panthers to only three points in three drives during the third quarter.
With about six minutes to go, the Bulldogs successfully drove the ball 84 yards on 12 plays to score a touchdown and make it a 12-point game. Plante opened the possession with a 21-yard carry, while junior running back Josiah Alvira (Danville, CA) added quality yardage on the ground with multiple rushes. Plante also found senior wide receiver Cole Blackburn (Sammamish, WA) on a 13-yard pass on third and seven before connecting with sophomore tight end Blake Roy (Washougal, WA) for the three-yard touchdown.
But the fourth quarter provided Chapman with a pair of touchdowns, as Redlands only benefitted from a Plante-Andrighetto score late in the contest, resulting in the tough 26-45 defeat for the Bulldogs.
Redlands earned 458 yards of offense, with Plante completing 24 of 36 passes for 264 yards. Blackburn hauled in seven catches for 84 yards, as Andrighetto recorded five for 73 yards. On the ground, junior running back Conner Kennedy (Olympia, WA) led the Bulldogs with 83 yards on just nine attempts.
Defensively, Shepherd tallied a team-high eight total tackles, while sophomore defensive back Chad Virgil (Menifee, CA) supplied seven.
Redlands (3-2, 2-1 SCIAC) strives to bounce back on the road against the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges Stags on Saturday, October 21. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.