Sat., Sept. 7, at 12:05 p.m.
Stoffer Family Stadium
George Fox University
The University of Redlands football team heads to George Fox University (OR) for Saturday's season opener in Newberg, Oregon. With high expectations of getting off to a great start, the Bulldogs also realize they have their work cut out for them against a consistently, well-coached squad.
"George Fox won't beat themselves," Head Coach Mike Maynard stated. "We're not likely to get any gifts from them."
Redlands strives to build on the momentum of last season, which culminated in an 8-2 record and included a 20-12 win over George Fox. So far, the short series between the Bulldogs and Bruins rests at 2-2, with the home team winning every time. The Bulldogs work to break the trend with this early-season opportunity against a quality opponent from the West Region.
"We are excited to play our first game on the road," commented Maynard.
Offensively, the Maroon and Gray looks forward to the return of junior quarterback Nathan Martinez (Redlands, CA) as a capable and creative option. Last season, Martinez enjoyed a breakout performance in the Bulldogs' 39-26 win over Chapman University, as he went 16-for-22 for 257 yards and three touchdowns. He finished the year with a 61.5% completion rate on 583 yards and seven touchdowns.
Familiar faces provide Martinez with quality targets, as senior tight end Blake Roy (Camas, WA) and senior wide receiver David Molina (Laguna Hills, CA) return to action. The duo combined for 714 receiving yards to lead the team.
Although the graduation of Conner Kennedy '19 leaves some questions about their ground game, the Bulldogs are excited to see who will step up and fill this void. With plenty of depth and ability, the ball carriers work to make a strong first impression.
"We need to execute our plan, make first downs, and keep the offense on the field."
Defensively, the Bulldogs return a solid crew of competitors, including senior defensive lineman Elias Hackney (Santa Monica, CA), and senior defensive backs Chad Virgil (Menifee, CA) and Vincent Vanhorne (Henderson, NV). Special teams benefits from the skill of senior kicker/punter Alex Raya (Jamul, CA), who enters his final season with optimism and poise.
Overall, Redlands relies on its fitness, determination, and dedication.
"This game is really important to our guys. They are going to play hard and compete well. The team did a great job in training camp. We are ready to play," added Maynard.
George Fox looks to start quarterback Jaden Sheffey, who won the starting job at the end of last season. The team also welcomes back wide receivers Evan Nelson, Justin Trimble, and Kenny May, as well as the Bruins' leading rusher from 2018, Anthony Garcia.
The Bruins hope to benefit from the contributions of multiple All-Conference players, including defensive back Caleb Harrel as a key member of a secondary that led the NWC in interceptions in 2018.
"As coaches, we'll have to adjust and adapt to the situation in front of us," Maynard said.
Keeping with the trend of last season, the Bulldogs will select captains weekly, with first honor going to Roy, junior wide receiver Trey Gevers (Issaquah, WA), senior defensive back Jeff Hector (Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA), and Hackney. In addition, the team chose senior offensive lineman Will Soares (Gilroy, CA) and junior linebacker Jermaine Calhoun Jr. (Oceanside, CA) to carry out the American flag, while sophomore defensive lineman Tony Huynh (Portland, OR) will bring out the team flag.