ORANGE, Calif. – Picking up right where they left off, the Chapman University football team opened up its 2013 home schedule with a resounding 38-17 win over Whitworth University (WA) on Saturday night at Wilson Field. The Panthers racked up 407 yards of total offense, including 237 on the ground, to secure their fifth straight home victory and improve their record to 2-0.
While continuing their home winning streak, the Panthers put an end to a dominant run by the Pirates, who had gotten the best of Chapman lately, winning three of the last four contests. Traditionally a close defensive battle, Chapman broke the mold putting up 38 points on Saturday after scoring a combined 30 in the last two matchups against the Pirates. The 21-point differential marked a stark contrast from the previous two games, which were separated by a total of five points.
Setting the tone early, Chapman (2-0) took just three minutes to march 70 yards for a score on a 6-yard touchdown run by junior QB Michael Lahey. The Panthers' defense stood up the Pirates on two straight drives before adding another score, this time a 3-yard touchdown pass from Lahey to junior RB Darek Mendoza.
Whitworth (2-2) responded quickly with 10 unanswered points on a DJ Tripoli 2-yard touchdown run and a 35-yard field goal by Kyler Gracey. A late field goal by Markus Trujillo gave the Panthers a 17-10 lead entering the half.
In the third quarter, the 2,764 fans in attendance were treated to the defensive battle most expected as the two teams held each other scoreless until the final seconds when junior QB Kean Stancil entered the game and carried the football for a 3-yard touchdown, giving the Panthers a 24-17 lead with 22 seconds remaining in the quarter.
Eager to shorten the Panthers' lead before the final quarter, the Pirates needed just one play to shift the momentum, a 74-yard touchdown pass from QB Bryan Peterson to Tripoli, his only catch of the game.
With the two teams separated by just one touchdown entering the fourth quarter, Lahey led Chapman on two scoring drives while the Panthers' defense held the Pirates scoreless, putting the game on ice. Lahey's touchdown passes to senior RB Kyle White and junior TE Anthony Ezeakunne sealed the victory for Chapman. Lahey finished the night having completed 15-of-18 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns.
Junior RB Cody Chapple spearheaded the Panthers' running game, racking up 126 of Chapman's 237 rushing yards. Junior WR Spencer Jordan was the Panthers' top receiver, hauling in three catches for 82 yards.
Chapman will put their spotless 2-0 record up against Whittier next Saturday as they open SCIAC conference play against the Poets for Homecoming and Chapman Family Weekend. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Wilson Field. Pregame festivities and special homecoming events can be found here: http://www.chapman.edu/events/homecoming-weekend/index.aspx
Postgame press conference: http://chapman.prestosports.com/sports/fball/2013-14/videos/trim.c9iPQS
by Ryan Cavinder
Sports Information Assistant