Football sends Bulldogs to pound

Airborne, junior Will English attempts to block an extra point against Redlands. In the foreground are (from left) Redlands defensive lineman Roc Roggeveen (#44), Leo defensive lineman David Sutton (#71) and Redlands wide receiver Tim Smith (#31). / photo by Ivan Matsumoto
Airborne, junior Will English attempts to block an extra point against Redlands. In the foreground are (from left) Redlands defensive lineman Roc Roggeveen (#44), Leo defensive lineman David Sutton (#71) and Redlands wide receiver Tim Smith (#31). / photo by Ivan Matsumoto

by Greg Maher
Staff Writer

One of the most exciting events of the school year is the homecoming football game. It is even more exciting when the team is having a successful season.

This was the case last Saturday as a huge crowd, including alumni, gathered to watch the University of La Verne football team handle the University of Redlands Bulldogs, 35-20.

Redlands received the opening kickoff and La Verne’s defense set the tone for the rest of the first half sacking Redlands’ quarterback Bobby Hendrix twice in their opening drive, forcing them to punt.

La Verne’s offense then went to work, setting a pace of its own for the first half.

The offense gave the ball to Anthony Rice three times in a row as he made his debut at tailback for La Verne. Rice carried for 19, 14 and 12 yards, respectively, on those three carries. He finished with 79 yards on 15 carries. Two plays later, La Verne quarterback Ryan Campuzano hit sophomore Rob Graves for a 21-yard touchdown, drawing the first blood in the game. Junior kicker Juan Contreras then hit the extra point, giving the Leopards a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.

The next drive for Redlands was foiled when junior Sean Fennison sacked Hendrix, forcing another punt.

On the next Bulldog drive, junior David Sutton bolted through the line, stopping a Redlands running back dead in his tracks on the first play of the drive. On the next play, it was Fennison again sticking Hendrix, this time jarring the ball loose. Senior Tyrone Youngblood was there to recover for La Verne.

La Verne gave the ball to Rice and senior running back Darren MacLellan on the next couple of plays, putting them into good field position. Campuzano then ran the ball in to the endzone for another Leopard score.

Redlands, still trying to generate some kind of offense, was once again denied, as the La Verne defense was just to much for them. Senior Kelly Mattson met a Redlands runner behind the line of scrimmage and that was as far as he went, Mattson putting him on his back. After that play, Redlands moved down field, running the ball for a couple of first downs. Redlands then went to the air, throwing two incompletions, the second one almost intercepted off by junior Cory Cofer. It was not picked off but it was enough water to put out the flame.

On the first play of the second quarter, Redlands threw a bomb that was intercepted by junior Keith White.

Campuzano dropped back to pass on the first play of the drive and was hit from his blindside and fumbled. The Bulldogs picked up the fumble and ran it inside the 5-yard line. On third and goal, Redlands got on the board with a 2-yard touchdown run.

On its next possession, La Verne mixed it up, taking to the air and running on the ground, capping off the drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Campuzano to Graves.

Another Redlands fumble gave the Leopards the ball back. With 48 seconds left in the first half, Campuzano scrambled in on the keeper making the score 28-7, La Verne.

“We played an excellent half of football, everything was clicking, offense was playing well, and the defense was playing well,” said Head Coach Rex Huigens.

On the opening drive of the second half, the Leos scored again on a 31-yard pass to Graves, making it his third touchdown catch of the game. He finished the day with 79 yards on four catches.

Redlands got on the board again with a 9-yard pass. They tried to fake an extra point, but La Verne was there to stop it.

At the end of the third quarter, the score was 35-13 in favor of La Verne.

In the fourth quarter, Redlands threatened to score after recovering a La Verne fumble but senior linebacker Lou Parra intercepted a Redlands pass at the goal line.

La Verne ran a couple of plays then fumbled again, but got the ball back as White got his second interception of the game.

“The coaches talked at halftime and we determined there was no way Redlands could score enough points in the second half to beat us, so we decided to be a little conservative in the second half,” said Huigens.

With 1:16 left in the game, Redlands scored on a 35-yard run, making the final score, 35-20.

The Leopards will take a perfect 6-0 record to Chapman tomorrow night, in what could be their toughest game yet.

“Talentwise, this will probably be the best team we’ve faced so far,” said Huigens.

“Our guys are playing together as a team, and hopefully the team concept will help us against Chapman,” he said.

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