The No. 25 University of Redlands football team erupted on the 2017 campaign with a resounding 32-7 win over the visiting Trinity University (TX) Tigers on Saturday night in Ted Runner Stadium. While scoring 32 unanswered points to storm out to a sizeable lead, the Bulldogs successfully moved the chains and executed explosive plays while playing stellar defense that resulted in four interceptions. Highlighting the Maroon and Gray's outstanding night, junior kicker Nathan Hierlihy (Redondo Beach, CA) lit up the scoreboard and the record book with amazing field goals.
Redlands jumped on the board in its first drive of the game, which followed senior defensive back Chad Virgil's (Menifee, CA) pick to halt the Tigers in the Bulldogs' red zone. Senior quarterback Mitch Kidd (Salinas, CA) aired it out on a 58-yard strike to sophomore wide receiver Mitchell Nickovich (Mission Viejo, CA) for the touchdown.
Two drives later, Hierlihy impressed the home crowd with a 50-yard field goal to extend the Maroon and Gray's lead to nine points.
Early in the second quarter, junior running back Camryn Davis (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) capped off an 11-play, 66-yard drive by carrying the ball 10 yards into the end zone for a touchdown.
Midway through the second quarter, Head Coach Mike Maynard tested Hierlihy's leg with a 55-yard field goal attempt but Hierlihy's strength and accuracy matched up to the challenge as he blasted it well past the posts for a new school record.
The Bulldogs sat comfortably in front with a 19-0 advantage but refused to back down. The Redlands defense continued to step up and minimize the opponents' chances, as sophomore defensive back PJ Wilson (Modesto, CA), senior defensive back Dustin Nascimento (Aiea, HI), junior defensive back DJ Hollingshead (Citrus Heights, CA), and many others pressured and pounded the Trinity offense.
Just before halftime, the Bulldogs orchestrated another outstanding drive that culminated in Hierlihy's third field goal of the night, with this one coming from 25 yards out. Kidd and the offense successfully moved the ball 57 yards over 12 plays to set up the score, with senior wide receiver Cole Blackburn (Sammamish, WA) hauling in an 11-yard catch for a first down early in the drive. Kidd also connected with senior wide receiver Xavier Villanueva (Peoria, AZ) for 25 yards on third and 10.
During the second half, Redlands kept up the offensive pressure while forcing Trinity into poor field positions with Hierlihy's lengthy punts and kickoffs. Defensively, junior defensive lineman Tobias Leonardos (Half Moon Bay, CA) and company halted the Tigers on fourth-and-one in a quality stop. Later in the game, senior linebacker Curren Lapes (Ladera Ranch, CA) stepped up with a big sack against the Tiger quarterback, while senior defensive back Daniel Gonzales (Mentone, CA) and Wilson each hauled in an interception.
Another Hierlihy field goal and a 30-yard rushing touchdown by junior quarterback Levi Plante (Lake Arrowhead, CA) extended Redlands' lead to 32 points with only seven minutes left in the contest.
Although the Tigers managed a late score, the game was well in hand for the reigning Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) champions.
Overall, Redlands recorded 13 first downs, as compared to Trinity's nine. The squad racked up 327 yards of offense, with Kidd accounting for 152 yards on 11 passes. Senior running back Alex Andrighetto (Portola Valley, CA) provided hard-earned yards on the ground with 11 carries for 45 yards, while Blackburn nabbed six catches for 47 yards.
Defensively, senior linebacker Mitch Shepherd (Seattle, WA) paced the Maroon and Gray with nine tackles.
Redlands (1-0) looks forward to traveling to George Fox University (OR) on September 16 for a non-conference game against the Bruins. Kick-off is set for 1:30 p.m.