Is the SCIAC up for grabs now?

The way the University of Redlands football team played for two weeks, it wouldn’t be going out on a limb to say the Bulldogs were the heavy favorite to win a SCIAC championship.

As always Occidental looked like the stiffest competition with Cal Lutheran the other possible stumbling block. But Redlands has both those games at home.

Now comes word that quarterback Dan Selway is out with a broken foot. Hmmmmm! Things just got a lot more interesting.

Injuries are never good, especially one of that magnitude. But the Bulldogs still have some things in their favor. First, Selway was injured in the game against Whitworth on Sept. 20. The Bulldogs were idle last week so understudy Steve Smith will have two full weeks to get ready.

Second, Smith is not a newcomer. He played in each of the first two games, although it was in a mop-up role. He also played the second half of the playoff game last year at St. John’s (Minn.) when Selway was sidelined by a shoulder injury. There is no bigger stage than that one and Smith performed admirably.

Third, the Bulldogs get La Verne first. While the Leopards look to be much-improved, they are probably still at least a year away from seriously challenging for a conference title. This should be a good game for Smith to get his feet wet.

Oxy is up after that. But let’s see how the Bulldogs do this week without Selway for the first time.

Did the Bulldogs lofty hopes go down with Selway? Probably not. The Bulldogs have enough left to contend. They just have a little less room for error.

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Panthers try and rebound from first loss

For three weeks the Chaffey football team found a way to compete despite all its injuries. It helped that all those games were against lower-tier teams.

The Panthers weren’t so lucky this week, losing to former Foothill Conference foe Grossmont 51-16.

“We did it with smoke and mirrors I think,” veteran coach Carl Beach said. “Those games were ones where we weren’t physically challenged. We were beating teams we should beat but we don’t have any more easy ones the rest of the way.”

The Panthers (3-1) begin National Division Central Conference play next week. Grossmont is an upper-tier team, but is in the Southern Conference.

The biggest problems for the Panthers in the loss to the Griffins were special teams and turnovers. Beach spent most of Sunday watching tape of his next foe but will also be breaking down the film of his team’s game to see where the problems occurred.

He didn’t count out making personnel changes, including using some starters on special teams.

“You hate having to use starters there but we may not have a choice,” he said. “You have to look and see who’s killing you and get him out of there.”

Then there were the turnovers — four interceptions and two fumbles to be exact.

Beach used three quarterbacks, with starter Greg Sprowls throwing for 116 yards on 11 completions but tossing three interceptions. Backup A.J. Springer made a cameo appearance, followed by Mike Stirewalt, who threw the fourth interception with the game already out of hand.

The Panthers trailed 21-0 after the first quarter and were down 37-0 before they finally scored. The large deficit also hurt because they had to go away from their game plan of running the ball. Mark Chase has been the most consistent weapon but had 75 yards on just nine carries.

Beach said Grossmont took the game more seriously.

“They were up for us. It has been a rivalry when we were in the same conference but our kids could have cared less,” he said.

“I’m thinking about cutting our practices from three hours to a half hour with a 15-minute ice cream break thrown in. We’d get the same amount of work done and everyone would be a lot happier.”

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Redlands quarterback out with broken foot

University of Redlands junior quarterback Dan Selway, the reigning SCIAC Offensive Player of the Year, will not play in next week’s conference opener at La Verne.

Selway sustained a broken foot late in the first half last week against Whitworth (Wash.) yet still played in the second half. An X-ray later revealed the extent of the injury.

Selway threw for 489 yards (46-for-63) and five touchdowns in the first two games. He threw for 2,429 yards and 22 touchdowns in leading the Bulldogs to a SCIAC title in 2007.

He will be replaced by junior Steve Smith, who saw action in both the first two games. While his time in those games came in mop-up duty, Smith has played in pressure situations. He entered in the second half of last year’s playoff game at St. John’s with Selway out with a shoulder injury and completed 12 of 16 passes for 93 yards.

“It hurts to lose Dan but we have the utmost confidence in Steve,” Bulldogs coach Mike Maynard said. “He has been here and knows the offense and he has good players around him.”

Selway also did the punting and will be repalce there by true freshman Wes Norris.

The Bulldogs are ranked in three national polls, the highest being a No. 19 by the American Football Coaches Association.

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