In a tale of two halves, the No. 15/17 University of Redlands football team suffered its first setback of the season in a difficult 18-21 loss on the road to the Chapman University Panthers. After facing a first-half deficit, the Bulldogs made a valiant push in the second stanza but fell just short of the comeback during Saturday's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) showdown.
"We're proud of the way our guys kept fighting and clawing to get back into this game," Head Coach Mike Maynard stated.
After neither team scored in the first quarter, the Panthers jumped on the board and built a 21-3 halftime lead. Redlands' only points came off of senior Alex Raya's (Jamul, CA) 34-yard field goal with 3:34 left in the second quarter.
Redlands regrouped in the locker room and came out in the third quarter with a renewed spirit of determination, which began with the Bulldogs' defensive stop on Chapman's opening drive. During this possession, six different Bulldogs made a tackle, including senior defensive lineman Elias Hackney's (Santa Monica, CA) for a loss of five yards on first and 10.
The Maroon and Gray worked to change the tide and ultimately scored a touchdown on an efficient five-play drive. Junior quarterback Nathan Martinez (Redlands, CA) connected with junior wide receiver Kai Kang (Sammamish, WA) on a 20-yard strike before Martinez carried the ball 16 yards to set up the score. First-year running back Mason Carvalho (Menifee, CA) made his way into the end zone from 26 yards out and Raya split the uprights to make it 10-21.
Another defensive stand kept Chapman off the board and allowed the Redlands offense to go back to work. Over the course of their six-minute possession, the Bulldogs marched downfield with gritty persistence. Carvalho gained critical yards on the ground before Martinez found junior wide receiver Noah McFadden (Puyallup, WA) for a 13-yard touchdown catch. After going for two, the Maroon and Gray trailed by only three points early in the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately, Redlands' late-game chances missed the mark and left it on the short end of the 18-21 final score.
"We had our opportunities to win but we just didn't make enough plays in the second half to dig us out of the hole," Maynard said.
With incredible resolve, the Bulldog defense shut out the Panthers in the second half. By the end of the game, four players had recorded seven tackles, including senior defensive back Jeff Hector (Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA), who earned a sack for a loss of seven yards and forced two fumbles.
Redlands (4-1, 1-1 SCIAC) heads to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Saturday, October 19, for a 1 p.m. kickoff against the Stags.