THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – With four league titles and NCAA Postseason appearances in as many years, the Cal Lutheran football program has its sights set on a fifth straight in 2013, but a tough schedule awaits the Kingsmen.
Cal Lutheran, a team that finished No. 16 in the final D3football.com poll of 2012, has a rigorous start to the schedule with three Lindy’s preseason Top-25 teams and two ranked by the Sporting News on their slate this fall. Three of the first four games of the season for CLU pit the Violet and Gold against 2012 playoff teams. The Kingsmen are currently ranked No. 14 by the Sporting News. The D3football.com preseason polls have yet to be released.
Returning to campus later than normal, the Kingsmen will not suit up for the first time until Saturday, Sept. 14 when Cal Lutheran hosts its sister school in Pacific Lutheran. PLU finished one spot behind CLU last fall in the D3football.com standings and enters the 2013 season ranked No. 11 by the Sporting News. In 2012 CLU defeated PLU 37-23 in Washington.
A week later, on Saturday, Sept. 21, the squad travels to Linfield (Ore.) for a 12:30 p.m. showdown with the Sporting News preseason No. 1 ranked Wildcats. The rivalry between the two teams has grown in the last few years and will certainly produce another battle on the gridiron this season. CLU trails the series 6-2 and lost a heartbreaking 33-30 decision on a last second field goal by LC last September on Cal Lutheran turf.
“We have made a conscience effort to schedule aggressively with regard to our non-conference schedule since I have been here,” head coach Ben McEnroe went on, “And it has prepared us well for league play.”
Following a bye week on Sept. 28, Cal Lutheran will open Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play on the road at Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 1:00 p.m.
The CLU home opener features a rematch of the Inaugural game at William Rolland Stadium against Redlands. In 2011, the Kingsmen erased a 24-0 halftime deficit to christen the stadium with a 28-24 victory over a league rival. There is more on the line against the Bulldogs again this year after the introduction of the Smudge Pot last fall. CLU will also host their annual Blackout game against UR this fall.
“The conference rotation is such that the Smudge Pot [Redlands] game has come early in the season the last couple years, which compounds the degree of difficulty.” McEnroe went on, “Our focus is not on the schedule, it is on our preparation because that is all we can control. We know there are good teams on the schedule and we have to prepare to play at a high level.”
On Saturday, Oct. 19 the Kingsmen will have an opportunity to perform before the annual Homecoming crowd on what is also denoted as the Breast Cancer Awareness game against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m., marking the only day game at home for CLU in 2013.
The Kingsmen hit the road on Saturday, Oct. 26 to play Occidental at 7:00 p.m. before returning to Rolland Stadium for the final regular season game of the season. Prior to a 7:00 p.m. game time against Whittier on Saturday, Nov. 2 Cal Lutheran will host Senior night.
A pair of road games cap off the season at La Verne and Chapman on Nov. 9 at 7:00 p.m. and 16 at 1:00 p.m. respectively.
Cal Lutheran has not lost a SCIAC game since Nov. 1, 2008. With the expectation of continuing that streak, the Kingsmen will await their Playoff fate on Monday, Nov. 11 as First Round games are scheduled to take place at locations yet to be determined on Saturday, Nov. 16. The Stagg Bowl, featuring the two best teams in Division III Football is slated for Saturday, Nov. 30.
Admission to home contests in the regular season this year is free for fans.