Chapman Football Game Notes (11/10/12)

Kevin Hunter (photo by Larry Newman)
Kevin Hunter (photo by Larry Newman)

Win and We're In
All it takes is a win and Chapman is heading to the NCAA Division III playoffs for the first time in school history by virtue of a first-place tiebreaker. A win however is easier said than done against No. 7 Cal Lutheran, the three-time defending SCIAC champions who have won 20-straight conference games. Due to the SCIAC tiebreaker, the winner of Saturday's game between the Kingsmen and Panthers will earn the SCIAC's automatic bid into the NCAA Playoffs. Cal Lutheran can avoid the tiebreaker and win the league outright with a victory. If Chapman and Redlands both win Saturday, all three schools would have identical 6-1 conference records. Per SCIAC rules (a.k.a. the "Rose Bowl Rule"), the school that has gone the longest without making the playoffs, wins the tiebreaker and receives the automatic bid. Both CLU and Redlands would be eliminated since both schools made the playoffs in 2011.

Six-Win Seasons
Chapman's win last Saturday put them at 6-2 on the year, a win total that has been accomplished once previously under head coach Bob Owens (2007) and just four times prior in school history. A win on Saturday would give Chapman its first 7-2 season since 1996.

Owens' SCIAC Success
Not only is Owens going for his third SCIAC championship in his coaching career (he won two with Whittier in 1997-98), but he continues to fare well against his SCIAC counterparts over the years. With Chapman going 5-1 thus far in conference play, Owens is now 43-34 all-time against the SCIAC.

Winning the Turnover Battle
With four more turnovers forced against Claremont and none given up, the Panthers continue to lead the SCIAC in turnover margin and jumped from 50th to 22nd in Division III in that category this week. Chapman has forced 22 turnovers and only given up 13. The Panthers' 14 interceptions rank fourth in school history.

Who's Counting "Strings"
Junior QB Kevin Hunter didn't play like a fourth-string quarterback (doubt he loves being called that) on Saturday against Claremont. Forced into action after injuries to Michael Lahey (knee in training camp), Kean Stancil (hamstring vs. La Verne) and Andrew Chavez (ribs vs. Whittier), Hunter was more than serviceable, going 11 for 15 for 215 yards and three touchdowns. A transfer from Glendale College, Hunter was named Offensive MVP for the Vaqueros last year.

Rush Hour Continues
Against Claremont, the Panthers rushed over 300 yards as a team for the third time this season. Chapman has now rushed for 100 or more yards in 13 consecutive games. The last time Chapman failed to rack up 100 yards was in a 14-9 win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in 2011. During the 13-game stretch, the team has had 11 100-yard individual rushing efforts including five by from sophomore RB Jeremiah McKibbins and two each by senior RB Chad Milburn and senior RB Al White.

The Re-Emerging Mr. White
The road to recovery was a long one for White, who suffered a broken leg against La Verne near the end of the 2010 season and made a slow return this season after sitting out all of last year. Starting the season with a limited role, White has emerged of late by running for over 100 yards against Redlands (121) and Claremont (117) and a touchdown in each of the past two games. The senior is the Panthers' second-leading rusher this season and averaging nearly 6 yards per carry.

Just for Kicks
If this is senior PK Mauricio Alfonso's final game, it will cap one of the great careers ever for a Chapman kicker. With a pair of field goals against Claremont, Alfonso moved into the No. 4 spot in the Division III rankings for field goals going 8 for 11 in just six games played (1.3 per game). Not to mention, adding to his Chapman record for career field goals with 24. He could also tie or break his own single-season record for field goals with one or two more (the record is nine).

Chapman vs. Cal Lutheran
This series has been a one-sided affair over its history (Cal Lu is 12-5 against Chapman all-time), but especially lately where the perennially-ranked Kingsmen have won four in a row and six of the last seven meetings. During its four-game winning streak against the Panthers, Cal Lu has averaged over 38 points per game, including a 61-31 victory at Ernie Chapman Stadium in 2011. The Panthers have held the Kingsmen more at bay on the road, allowing just 21.5 ppg the past two meetings in Thousand Oaks. Chapman's last win over the Kingsmen came in 2007 with a 44-30 win in Orange.

Cal Lutheran in 2012
The three-time defending SCIAC champs have lived up to their No. 7 ranking all season long, losing their only game to another top-ranked Linfield team 33-30 in September. The Kingsmen senior class has not lost a conference game in four years. Cal Lu has done it year after year with a high-flying offensive attack led by senior WR Eric Rogers, who ranks third in the nation in receiving yards per game (131.9) and seventh in catches (8.9 per game). Meanwhile, senior QB Zach Schultis is second in Division III in pass efficiency with a 191.9 rating.
     The Kingsmen are narrowly ahead of Chapman in total offense (531.5 yards per game) which is tops in the SCIAC and No. 3 in the nation. The Panthers (499.2 yards per game) rank No. 11 in the nation in total offense.

Chapman Football on Air/Video Stream
For the sixth-straight year, Chapman has partnered with the school's on-campus radio station, Chapman Radio, to broadcast eight of the nine Panthers' football games in 2012, including all four home games. The games will be streamed live on the internet at http://www.chapmanradio.com/sports. A rotation of on-air student talent will provide play-by-play and commentary for every down of Chapman football.
     Cal Lutheran will provide live video of the game, along with play-by-play here: http://clusports.com/video/

by Doug Aiken
Sports Information Director

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