Redlands, Calif. – Bobby Brown had 116 yards rushing and two touchdowns on only eight carries and Chad Hurst threw for 306 yards and two scores as the Redlands Football team defeated Pomona-Pitzer 61-20 on Saturday evening in the Sagehens' conference opener.
The loss drops Pomona-Pitzer to 0-4 on the season (0-1 in the SCIAC) as it played without junior running back Luke Sweeney (Broken Arrow, Okla.), who leads college football (all divisions) in rushing yardage (182.7 yards per game). Sweeney did not practice this week with an injury and was held out of the contest. Redlands improves to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the SCIAC with the win.
Junior quarterback Luke Ferguson (Silverton, Ore. - pictured) set personal highs in every passing category without Sweeney (other than touchdowns), ending up 35-58 for 312 yards and two touchdowns. However, as a team, the Sagehens had only 35 yards rushing on 38 carries.
Brown opened the scoring for Redlands with a 24-yard touchdown run at the 11:34 mark of the first quarter, and Ryan Curnel added a 13-yard touchdown reception from Hurst on third-and-eight with 9:00 left in the second quarter to make the score 14-0.
Ferguson was able to engineer an 11-play, 71-yard drive to pull the Sagehens within 14-7, as he snuck the ball in from the one-yard line on the final play of the drive. The momentum was short-lived, though, as the Bulldogs scored on their first play from scrimmage on their next drive, as Mark Richardson caught a 54-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline from Hurst to push the lead to 21-7.
The Sagehens got as far as the Redlands 38-yard line on its next drive, but could not get a first down after a second-and-two, and Ferguson pooched a punt into the end zone on fourth down. Redlands then drove down to the Pomona-Pitzer 25-yard line, where Kevin Grady kicked a 42-yarder to put the Bulldogs in front 24-7 at the half.
Redlands then tacked on two more rushing touchdowns early in the second half to end any comeback hopes for the Sagehens, as Brown scored his second from six yards out as he went airborne over two Pomona-Pitzer defenders before landing in the end zone. David Woolbert then plunged in from three yards out with 8:18 left in the third to stretch the lead to 37-7.
The Sagehens did respond with a touchdown drive when it took advantage of a short field following an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty which forced Redlands to kick off from the 15-yard line. On third-and-goal from the five, Ferguson found sophomore tight end Peter Ferrin (Salt Lake City, Utah) on a slant in the back of the end zone, the fourth time they have connected on a touchdown pass in the last three weeks.
Ferguson then added another touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, as he found sophomore receiver Ryan Randle (Compton, Calif.) on fourth-and-goal at the five, pulling the Sagehens within 40-20. Brad Crisanty answered back with a three-yard run at the other end, and Scott Payton returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown with 8:04 left to make the score 54-20. Back-up quarterback Les Obie tacked on another rushing touchdown, the seventh different Bulldog to score a touchdown (six offensively), to close out the scoring.
Randle had nine catches for 90 yards, while senior Kareem Smedley (Ann Arbor, Mich.) had eight catches for 71 yards. Junior Michael Schwartz (Seattle, Wash.) filled in for Sweeney at tailback and had 15 carries for 35 yards.
Senior defensive back Andre Shepley (Springfield, Mass.) had 12 tackles, sophomore linebacker Kyle Roskamp (Chesterfield, Mo.) added 11, and sophomore defensive back Nick Sbardellati (Nuevo, Calif.) added 10 to lead the Pomona-Pitzer defense. Jordan Garcia had 16 tackles for Redlands.
Pomona-Pitzer will be back in action on Saturday when it hosts Occidental for a 7 p.m. game at Merritt Field.