Due to air quality concerns throughout Southern California because of the ongoing wildfires, the La Verne and Redlands football teams traveled to Palm Desert Saturday for their Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game originally scheduled to be played in Redlands.
The Bulldogs defeated the Leopards with a final score of 45-17, after a strong performance put on by the Bulldog offense.
“It was closer than the score shows,” said senior safety Taryll Sumler. “When a bus breaks down and you have to travel that far, it sort of messes up the mood of things.”
One of the team buses suffered a flat tire en route to Palm Desert.
The Redlands area had questionable air quality, causing the conference to move the game toward the less toxic air in the desert area.
As a result, the game was relocated to Palm Desert High School field.
The Leopards were able to gain the lead over the Bulldogs, after being down 3-0 after a 20-yard field goal by Redlands’ kicker Joe Macmillan early in the game.
Senior quarterback Troy Doolittle completed a six-yard pass to senior tight end Anthony DeJager giving ULV their first score of the game, 7-0.
Only allowing the Leopards to lead briefly, Redlands scored two more touchdowns, allowing them to go up, 17-7.
Staying in the game, the Leopards closed the half with a 39-yard field goal by freshman kicker Taylor Hart, bringing the score to 17-10.
Coming back from halftime, the potent Bulldog offense took control, scoring four consecutive touchdowns by running backs Zack Schafer, Jeff Stewart and George Foreman IV.
“We had a lot of penalties and made mental mistakes,” senior running back Chris Handy said. “We had a couple bad plays, that were very crucial points.”
In the second half of play, the Bulldogs scored 26 points, securing them the 45-17 win over ULV.
While the Bulldog running backs took turns scoring, junior quarterback Dan Selway made a 33-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Sean Scott.
Redlands (6-1, 3-1 SCIAC) gained 408 total yards on offense on 79 plays, compared to 202 total yards on 59 plays for the Leopards.
Selway finished with 270 yards on 16-of-26 passing with two scores.
Bulldog receiver Kyle Godfrey finished with a game-high 106 yards on four catches.
For La Verne, Doolittle went 26-for-43 through the air for 228 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.
Handy supplied 65 receiving yards on five catches, while junior wide receiver Grady Thomas earned 58 yards on five receptions.
On the defensive side, ULV linebacker Branamier Courtney led the team with 14 total tackles, while defensive back Blair Chavez came up with 12.
“I guess it’s the story of the year – we played well but we missed points,” said junior receiver John Ausman.
“We played hard but still can’t seem to put it together right now,” Sumler said.
La Verne will host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Ortmayer Stadium.
The team will wrap up the season the following week at home against the Chapman Panthers.
Danielle Lampkin can be reached at email@example.com.