No. 23 Bulldog Football Captures 33-14 Win at Cal Lutheran for Seventh Consecutive Smudge Pot Trophy

Photo credit: Jeff Martinez
Photo credit: Jeff Martinez
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After building a 13-point, first-half lead, the No. 23 University of Redlands football team rolled to a 33-14 victory over the Kingsmen of Cal Lutheran University on Saturday night in Thousand Oaks.  With the result, the Bulldogs successfully defended their Smudge Pot trophy while capturing their seventh consecutive win over CLU.

Senior kicker Alex Raya (Jamul, CA) put the opening points on the board when he drilled a school-record, 56-yard field goal with 11:32 left on the first-quarter clock. 

After the Bulldog defense halted the Kingsmen on a three-and-out drive, first-year running back Mason Carvalho (Menifee, CA) muscled out multiple, positive gains for a pair of first downs, including a three-yard carry on third-and-one.  Two plays later, junior quarterback Nathan Martinez (Redlands, CA) found junior wide receiver Khory Day (Fresno, CA) on a 21-yard strike, which set up Carvalho's 34-yard outburst into the end zone for Redlands' 10-0 lead.

On the home team's ensuing drive, Redlands kept CLU out of the end zone with its stingy defense that included a big-time sack by senior defensive back Vincent Vanhorne (Henderson, NV). 

At the start of the second quarter, the Bulldogs continued to press offensively and benefitted from a pair of CLU penalties to put Raya within range.  He successfully split the uprights on a 33-yard field goal to make it 13-0.

A pick-six and a fumble recovery in the end zone led to the Maroon and Gray's 27-7 lead by the end of the third quarter.   Senior defensive back Jeff Hector (Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA) hauled in his seventh interception of the season and his third pick-six in the last two games.  Sophomore offensive lineman Anthony Vargas (Grand Terrace, CA) snagged the loose ball in the CLU end zone for another six points.

On first and 10 of the Kingsmen's subsequent possession, junior linebacker Matthew Betancourt (San Bernardino, CA) immediately put the ball back in the Bulldogs' hands by forcing and recovering a fumble at the CLU 43-yard line.

Although Cal Lutheran worked to cut the deficit to 13 points, the Bulldogs managed the time and moved the chains with explosive run plays by sophomore running backs Kai Thompson (Murrieta, CA) and Cole Davis (Morgan Hill, CA).  The duo finished the game with 30 carries for 169 yards to account for all but 77 of the team's rushing yards.

In addition, Hector hauled in another interception to stymie the Kingsmen's attempt at a deep throw.

The Bulldogs put up an insurance touchdown with about three minutes left in the game when Martinez found junior wide receiver Jacob Huff (San Juan Capistrano, CA) for a 27-yard scoring reception.

Defensively, sophomore defensive back Jake Geisbauer (Canyon Country, CA) and sophomore linebacker Joe Bennett (San Diego, CA) finished off the Kingsmen with two big tackles and an interception on CLU's final drive.

Overall, Redlands produced twice as many first downs as Cal Lutheran and tallied 73 offensive plays compared to the Kingsmen's 47.  The Bulldogs also successfully controlled the clock with a time of possession of 37:18.

Redlands (7-1, 4-1 SCIAC) returns home on Saturday, November 9, for Senior Day against the Whittier College Poets.  Kickoff is slated for 7:05 p.m. in Ted Runner Stadium.