Game Preview: Redlands Football Battles CLU Kingsmen for Smudge Pot on Homecoming

Sat., Oct. 27, at 7:05 p.m.

Ted Runner Stadium

University of Redlands


Following a solid victory at the University of La Verne last week, the University of Redlands football team returns to Ted Runner Stadium for Homecoming on Saturday night for an important showdown against the Kingsmen of Cal Lutheran University.  The teams will be playing for the coveted Smudge Pot for the seventh time, with the Bulldogs hoping to secure it for the sixth-straight year.

Last week, Redlands gained a huge spark to start the second half when junior defensive back Jeff Hector (Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA) returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown.  As a result, Hector was named the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Football Specialist of the Week.

After discussing some adjustments in the locker room, the team put them into action for a lucrative return, which carried the squad into a more productive second half.

"That was a key play to the game.  After that, we played with a lot more confidence," Head Coach Mike Maynard said.

For the Kingsmen, last week's 29-33 heartbreaker to Chapman University leaves them hungry for a new opportunity.  According to some, CLU's record of 3-4 is misleading, given the talent among the roster.  Against the Panthers, Cal Lutheran gave up a late fumble and a long touchdown, which provided the difference in a fairly tight contest.

"Cal Lutheran is a capable team.  We have got to do our best to win this game," Maynard added.

Interestingly enough, the Kingsmen are 0-3 on the road this season.

Redlands takes on CLU in Ted Runner Stadium on Saturday, knowing there is a lot riding on the game beyond the end result.

"We are excited to play at home in front of a great crowd.  Every play is important for our seniors.  There is still a lot on the line for us."

A key component to this week's match-up is that the Kingsmen top the conference charts for rushing offense with 216 yards per game, while the Bulldogs rank first among the SCIAC for rushing defense at 69.1 yards per game.  Redlands also ranks 16th in NCAA Division III for this statistic.

On defense, the Bulldogs rely on the steady and successful contributions of senior linebacker Nick Castro (La Verne, CA), junior defensive lineman Elias Hackney (Santa Monica, CA), and senior defensive lineman Joe Munroe (Costa Mesa, CA).  With quality preparation by the coaches, the team holds high expectations for containing the run. 

Offensively, the Bulldogs look to junior tight end Blake Roy (Camas, WA) to make big plays, as he did a week ago with five catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns.  Redlands also anticipates a relentless effort from senior running back Conner Kennedy (Olympia, WA) on the ground.  With CLU's three-headed running-back corps, it will be exciting to see them counter each other like a chess match that is both deliberate and dynamic.  Senior running back Chris Anderson paces the trio with 603 yards on 90 rushes for four touchdowns.

Plante, Kennedy, junior defensive back Vinny Vanhorne (Henderson, NV), and senior defensive lineman Troy Kay (New York City, NY) will serve as the team's captains on Saturday.