Saturday, November 3, at 5:05 p.m.
The University of Redlands football team takes to the road for the final time this regular season on Saturday, November 3, when it travels to Whittier College to square off against the Poets in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action. The Bulldogs look to carry the momentum of last week's success into this important contest, which kicks off at 5:05 p.m.
Against Cal Lutheran University, the Maroon and Gray put together a complete game that kept the Smudge Pot in Redlands' possession for the sixth consecutive year. Among the many highlights, senior running back Conner Kennedy (Olympia, WA) racked up a career-high 180 yards on the ground for two touchdowns en route to earning the team's offensive player of the week. Despite preseason adversity that could have sidelined him for the year, he has nearly 800 yards on the ground over eight games.
"Conner is such a workhorse. He puts a lot into his craft outside of games and possesses incredible intangibles," commented Head Coach Mike Maynard.
In addition, senior defensive lineman Joe Munroe (Costa Mesa, CA) was named the SCIAC Defensive Athlete of the Week after snagging a 48-yard interception return. He also applied plenty of pressure to the opposing running backs.
"Joe is a really tough, physical, and strong player," Maynard added. "He is tenacious and athletic, with great eye-hand coordination."
Munroe and senior linebacker Nick Castro (La Verne, CA), who registered eight tackles against Cal Lutheran, shared the team's weekly honor for defense.
On special teams, the Bulldogs gained big plays from senior kicker Nathan Hierlihy (Redondo Beach, CA), who split the uprights on three field goals and six extra points. His outstanding performance resulted in being named the specialist of the week by the SCIAC and the team.
Furthermore, junior wide receiver David Molina (Laguna Hills, CA) shined with five returns and four catches for a combined 155 yards.
"We are asking David to do more and he has responded to that need," stated Maynard.
With the success of the Bulldogs' 51-23 victory over the Kingsmen spurring them on, they strive to avoid giving into a potential "trap" game. On the outside, Whittier's 1-6 record does not impress against Redlands' 6-2 showing, but the Poets have certainly made progress this season that can't be overlooked.
"This will be one of our toughest games," Maynard said. "They have tremendous intangibles and exceptional toughness. They make plays out of sheer determination."
Redlands strives to come out hard and fast to avoid any let-down from a week ago. The Bulldogs must counter a very balanced Whittier team and force the Poets into a one-dimensional offense. Quarterback Daniel Garlick averages 108 passing yards but has only three touchdowns. Wide receiver Brian Phelan serves as the top target with 470 yards through the air on 38 receptions and six touchdowns. The Poets' primary ball carrier is Alex Retana, who owns 477 rushing yards on 98 attempts.
This week, the Maroon and Gray gained quality output from an array of players, including sophomore defensive lineman Nathan Abelon (San Bernardino, CA) as the practice player of the week, and first-year tight Andruw Mendes (Keyes, CA) and sophomore running back Cade Henjum (San Juan Capistrano, CA) as the scout team players of the week. The Bulldogs continually raise the bar on their preparation with solid contributions like theirs.
This week's captains include Hierlihy, Molina, senior running back Ryan Rieta (Olympia, WA), junior defensive lineman Elias Hackney (Santa Monica, CA), and junior defensive back Chad Virgil (Menifee, CA).