With the excitement of Homecoming in the air, the University of Redlands football team provided its own fireworks by downing the visiting Panthers of Chapman University in a 32-13 decision in Saturday's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) game in Ted Runner Stadium. Behind the relentless effort of the Maroon and Gray offensive line, senior running back Brad Crisanty (Granite Bay, CA) spearheaded the victory with a career-high 217 rushing yards to go along with 106 return yards, highlighted by a 93-yard touchdown return.
Senior defensive back Nick Kido (Honolulu, HI) got things started with his first two interception grabs of the season on the Panthers' opening drives. After the second pick, Redlands took full advantage of opportunity and notched its first touchdown of the night. Senior quarterback Chad Hurst(Dixon, CA) connected with sophomore wide receiver James Ramirez (La Verne, CA) for 38 yards and the first down at the Chapman 17-yard line, which set up senior wide receiver Peter Adams' (Laguna Niguel, CA) scoring reception.
Minutes later, the game appeared to be headed for a back-and-forth battle, as Chapman put together a 13-play, 86-yard drive to the house to even the score.
However, Crisanty took the wind right out of the Panther sails, when he returned the ensuing kickoff for 93 yards to the promise land, making it 14-7 before the end of the first quarter.
Both squads' defenses stepped up to quiet the scoring in the second frame. The only successful effort came on 23-yard Bulldog field goal by junior kickerKevin Grady (Seattle, WA) that followed up a seven-play drive to the Chapman six-yard line.
With the Panthers moving the ball on their subsequent possession, they opted to go for it on fourth-and-five, but the Bulldog defense squandered any chance of a first down. Junior defensive lineman Steven Locke Jr.(Barstow, CA) and junior linebacker Erik Wiersma (Bellflower, CA) registered the critical tackle for the Maroon and Gray, returning the ball to the Bulldogs on their own 34-yard line.
On Chapman's next possession, senior linebacker Jordan Garcia (Carlsbad, CA) stepped up with three big plays, including a pass break-up on third-and-long. He finished the game with a team-high 14 tackles, including 2.5 for a loss of eight yards.
The third quarter included much of the same, as Redlands converted the only score when Grady split the uprights on a 34-yarder with 8:48 left on the clock. Grady was also instrumental throughout the game by pinning the opponents deep in their own territory with precise punting and kick-offs.
As a result of Redlands' stellar defense, the Panthers managed only one drive to go beyond four downs during this stanza. This effort ended on an eight-yard sack by senior linebacker Sean Woods (Victorville, CA), giving the ball back to the Bulldogs.
With 9:20 to go in the game, Redlands initiated a drive from its own 45-yard line, with Crisanty carrying the ball 47 yards in just two attempts. This set up a 12-yard rush by freshman running back Curtis Tanquary (San Jose, CA) into the Panther end zone for the 26-7 advantage. Although the Bulldogs' two-point conversion came up short, they held the lead and the momentum for the remainder of the game.
Senior defensive back Scott Payton (Sammamish, WA) made sure of it by putting the icing on the cake when he nabbed an interception pass and ran it back 25 yards for the score. This was Redlands' fourth pick of the night and the ninth in the last two games.
Although Chapman mustered another six points, the Maroon and Gray's win was never in question.
As a result of tonight's triumph, Redlands (3-3, 3-1 SCIAC) sits in a three-way tie for second in the SCAIC, joining Chapman and the University of La Verne. The Bulldogs look forward to hosting Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Saturday for Senior Night at 7 p.m. in Ted Runner Stadium.