No. 13/14 Redlands Football Wins Regular-Season Finale over Chapman University
Keeping its playoff hopes alive, the No. 13/14 University of Redlands football team did what it had to do on Saturday and won its final game of the regular season. While earning points on a defensive touchdown, two field goals and one offensive score, the Bulldogs posted a 19-13 victory over the Panthers of Chapman University amidst rainy conditions in the City of Orange.
The Bulldogs capitalized on Chapman's fumble on its opening drive as junior defensive back Scott Payton (Sammamish, WA) scooped up the ball for a 38-yard scoring return for the second touchdown of the season for this standout defender.
After missing the ensuing point-after try, sophomore kicker Kevin Grady(Seattle, WA) stepped up with two integral field goals, splitting the uprights from 39 and 40 yards out.
Chapman had previously scored on an eight-play, 75-yard drive, which led to a 12-7 score in favor of the Bulldogs with 11 minutes to go in the second quarter.
The teams traded blows through the end of the half, with neither squad successfully penetrating the red zone. Chapman managed to convert a 32-yard field goal with eight seconds left on the clock.
With the Bulldogs leading 12-10 at the start of the second half, junior quarterback Chad Hurst (Dixon, CA) led his team down field on an 11-play, 62-yard drive, culminating in the offense's only touchdown of the game. After Hurst and junior running back Brad Crisanty (Granite Bay, CA) accounted for 39 rushing yards in this scoring series, Hurst finally connected with senior wide receiver Mark Richardson II (Los Angeles, CA) on a five-yard strike into the end zone.
The defensive battle continued with neither side giving an inch. Chapman settled for one last field goal, leading to the final score of 19-13.
The Redlands defense showed its amazing tenacity as it turned back the Panthers on their final drive of the game. With 3:06 to go, Chapman moved the ball from its own 21-yard line while connecting on five passes of 11 or more yards, which included a 41-yard strike. However, on fourth and 12 from the UR 15, the Bulldogs halted the opponents at the four-yard line, denying the first down and the score.
Hurst went 13-for-27 with one interception on the day, amassing 162 yards through the air. He found five receivers, with Richardson serving as his top target with 71 yards on four catches.
Defensively, junior linebacker Jordan Garcia (Carlsbad, CA) led the team with seven tackles, highlighted by six solo hits. Payton tied for second among the Maroon and Gray with six tackles, including one for a loss, to go along with his fumble return.
With the win, Redlands (8-1, 5-1 SCIAC) has done its part to be in excellent position for an at-large berth to the NCAA Championships. After defeating then-No. 4 North Central College in the Bulldogs' season opener, the Maroon and Gray has produced a nearly flawless record and remains hopeful for continuing the 2011 season.
The NCAA selection show is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday at www.ncaa.com.