LA VERNE 49 – 42 REDLANDS
ULV: 14 14 0 21
UR: 0 21 13 8
On homecoming night, the Bulldogs came out onto the field eager and confident against the La Verne Leopards. They had a reason for this confidence, having not lost a home match against La Verne in 19 years. La Verne was able to take a few early leads in the game, leading Redlands by 14 points at three separate points, but the Bulldogs ultimately overcame that deficit, taking a lead and playing back-and-forth with La Verne. However, a Leopards’ touchdown with under a minute left sealed the game. La Verne clinched the win at, 49-42.
La Verne appeared to have this game wrapped up from the start, scoring a touchdown in under two minutes on their first drive after the game. In the minutes following an interception thrown by Redlands’ quarterback Kevin Russell, the Leopards found themselves scoring another touchdown on a run by Dallas Parent, already giving him two on the night just 8 minutes into the game.
Despite falling into a hole early, Redlands fought hard and started to come back, scoring their first touchdown four and a half minutes into the second quarter, on Russell’s touchdown pass to redshirt junior Kevin Johnson. The Leopards were able to tally another seven points, but Redlands came back again, this time on a run by junior running back Devin Appleton. The two sides traded blows again during the second quarter, with an additional touchdown being apiece before halftime came. As the first 30 minutes came to an end, the Bulldogs left the field trailing by seven, 28-21.
A high-scoring first half was almost equally matched in the second, and the Bulldogs were able to notch three early points on a field goal by senior kicker Sean Murray. After forcing the stop on defense, the Bulldogs got the ball back and were able to take their first lead of the game, scoring on senior running back Curtis Tanquary’s five yard touchdown run to make the score 31-28 . Another field goal by Murray was able to give Redlands the lead by six as the third quarter ended. The energetic crowd, filled with students and alumni alike, was thrilled to watch Redlands try to close the game out in the last quarter.
The ability the offense had to motivate the team impressed head coach Mike Maynard. “We have a lot of guys who are passionate and love to see their Bulldog brothers succeed,” he said in an interview. “I like the team unity and I know when we play as a team we are better.”
But the Leopards were able to find their groove in the fourth. They scored a touchdown early in the quarter on a one yard run by Travis Sparks-Jackson to hold a slim one-point lead. Redlands took the lead back, scoring another touchdown, and converted a two-point conversion to put them seven points ahead. But the Leopards scored once more, this time to tie the game. After Redlands folded the ball over to La Verne once again on a punt, the Leopards marched down the field on a wonderful drive, scoring their final touchdown with 57 seconds left to go ahead by seven. Redlands got the ball back and frantically tried to tie the match up, but their valiant effort was not enough, and La Verne won 42-49.
While there was plenty of offense to go around, Maynard felt that more could have been done against the Leopards’ defense. “We missed some points when we finished drives with [field goals] rather than touchdowns which, in the end, was our demise,” he said.
The win not only spoiled Redlands’ homecoming weekend, but it gave the La Verne Leopards their first win at the University of Redlands since 1996. Redlands will try to overcome their two-game losing streak on Halloween, as they play Whittier in their final home game of the year.
[Image courtesy of Sky Ung, Redlands Bulldog photographer]