The University of Redlands football team hit the road on Saturday for an important Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) game against the University of La Verne Leopards. With two 14-point quarters, the Bulldogs made big plays to jump back into the win column in a 35-17 decision.
Overall, Redlands converted 64% of its third downs and averaged 6.3 yards per play for 374 yards of total offense.
Redlands hurried out to a 14-0 lead by scoring on its first two possessions with senior quarterback Levi Plante (Lake Arrowhead, CA) leading the charge. He found sophomore wide receiver Jacob Huff (San Juan Capistrano, CA) for a 17-yard strike on third and long before connecting with senior running back Conner Kennedy (Olympia, WA) for 12 yards and junior wide receiver David Molina (Laguna Hills, CA) for 14. Plante jaunted into the end zone to cap off the 11-play, 70-yard, opening drive.
After the Bulldog defense forced the Leopards to punt from their own 22-yard line, Redlands quickly capitalized on the short field with an efficient 44-yard scoring drive. The big play came in the back of the end zone, where junior tight end Blake Roy (Camas, WA) hauled in a 33-yard touchdown reception.
Although the Leopards put up 10 points to close out the second quarter, Redlands effectively refocused in the locker room and came out ready to pounce on the second half. The Bulldogs quickly made it 21-10 with an impressive kickoff return by junior defensive back Jeff Hector (Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA), who used his speed and vision of the field to make his way 96 yards into the end zone.
"This was an exciting play for us. It boosted our energy at the start of the second half," Head Coach Mike Maynard said.
Redlands limited the ULV offense to minimal gains, which allowed Plante and company to go back to work. Early in the third quarter, Plante ran 20 yards for a first down before sending a 12-yard pass into Roy's hands to set up another touchdown. After Plante's 15-yard scramble for the score, the Bulldogs completed their second 14-point quarter with a 28-10 lead.
Late in the third, sophomore defensive back Marvin Perkins Jr. (Las Vegas, NV) snagged an interception to halt the Leopards in their tracks. He, junior defensive back Chad Virgil (Menifee, CA), senior linebacker Nick Castro (La Verne, CA), and first-year defensive back Jadin Michaels (Palm Springs, CA) came up with huge stops late in the game. In addition, the Bulldogs orchestrated a critical goal-line stand with about seven minutes left in the game. At fourth and goal, the Leopards had to go for it but junior defensive lineman Elias Hackney (Santa Monica, CA) stuffed the run for no gain.
After each team tacked on another touchdown, the Bulldogs came home with a solid 35-17 victory. With today's result, the Maroon and Gray owns 12-straight wins at La Verne's Ortmayer Stadium.
"We've got a long way to go to be the consistent team that we want to be," Maynard stated.
Plante rose to the occasion with an impressive outing that included 11 completions for 152 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball 15 times for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Roy served as his top target on five catches for 79 yards, while Molina supplied five receptions for 59 yards.
Defensively, Michaels and Perkins each recorded nine tackles.
Redlands (5-2, 3-1 SCIAC) looks forward to taking on the Cal Lutheran University Kingsmen during Homecoming in the annual Smudge Pot Game on Saturday, October 27, at 7 p.m.