Game Preview: U of R Football Aims for Senior Celebration against Occidental

Game Preview: U of R Football Aims for Senior Celebration against Occidental

Sat., Nov. 10, at 1:05 p.m.

Ted Runner Stadium

University of Redlands


The University of Redlands football team returns home for Senior Day on Saturday, November 10, in a 1:05 p.m. kickoff against the Occidental College Tigers.  With the final game of the regular season, the Bulldogs have an opportunity to capture their eighth win of the season for the ninth time in the entire history of the program.

Last week, the Bulldogs moved into position to accomplish this feat by orchestrating a 42-7 victory over Whittier College in a solid outing that saw excellence in all three facets.  Overall, the team rushed for 319 yards, with senior quarterback Levi Plante (Lake Arrowhead, CA) and senior running back Conner Kennedy (Olympia, WA) accounting for 223 of the yards while scoring three touchdowns.  Their success would not have been possible without the impressive performance of the offensive line, including starters, senior center Tommy Garcia (La Habra, CA), sophomore guard Calhoun Helmberger (Tacoma, WA), senior tackle Christian Godina (Phoenix, AZ), first-year tackle Cody Paul (Castaic, CA), and junior guard Brandyn Alvarez (Grand Terrace, CA). 

"We have a very competitive group and we have done a lot of switching of positions to get just the right formula," said Head Coach Mike Maynard.  "We are really pleased with their development."

Outside of the big two ball-carriers, the Maroon and Gray gained quality gains from the talented running back corps of first-year Kai Thompson (Murrieta, CA), junior Dalton Lohman (San Clemente, CA), sophomore Michael Bean (Visalia, CA), and first-year Jake Gilbert (Escondido, CA).

"We're excited about the future." 

Defensively, Redlands held the Poets to only 49 rushing yards, which keeps the Bulldogs among the top 10 in NCAA Division III with a season average of only 61.3 rushing yards allowed.  Senior linebackers Nick Castro (La Verne, CA) and Peter Riccolo (Morris, IL), sophomore linebacker Matthew Betancourt (San Bernardino, CA), and senior Jared Emanuele (Norco, CA) add to the team's stinginess with great pressure and persistence.

Special teams earned excellent field position, with junior wide receiver David Molina (Laguna Hills, CA), junior defensive back Jeff Hector (Palos Verde Peninsula, CA), and Gilbert registering quality returns.  In addition, senior kicker Nathan Hierlihy (Redondo Beach, CA) split the uprights on all six extra points for a fine showing. 

This week, the Maroon and Gray strives to keep things flowing at a high level to provide a strong finish to the regular season.  Redlands takes on winless Occidental, which returned to a full, game schedule after only competing in three contests last year.  

For the Tigers, first-year running back DJ Adams and junior wide receiver Lucas Savoie lead the offense with two touchdowns each.  Sophomore Raffi Titizian owns 44 total tackles as Oxy's defensive cog.

"Oxy runs some very unique and different systems, which is helping them to make progress," Maynard commented.

In addition to recognizing the senior class in a short pregame ceremony, the Bulldogs strive to continue that celebration in how they play.

"We will honor our seniors with great effort. We must take full advantage of our opportunities and play physical football," added Maynard.

With Garcia, Kennedy, Castro, Emanuele, and senior defensive lineman Joe Munroe (Costa Mesa, CA) serving as captains, Redlands works for an exciting finish that bolsters its momentum for a great off-season.