ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University football team took care of business on Saturday night, handing visiting University of La Verne a 28-13 defeat at Ernie Chapman Stadium. The 'Senior Night' win in the Panthers' final home game of the regular season sets up a showdown next weekend between two unbeaten SCIAC foes Chapman and the University of Redlands for the conference crown.
Chapman (6-1 overall, 5-0 SCIAC) was unorthodox in its victory on Saturday, held to just 320 yards of offense and only 105 yards on the ground. The offense had been averaging 489 total yards and 278 yards rushing – both ranked in the top 20 in Division III. But the Panthers got it done when they had to, putting together a pair of 75-yard scoring drives in the first half to build a 14-3 halftime lead.
Then, after La Verne (1-6 overall, 0-5 SCIAC) made it a one-possession game at 21-13 with its first touchdown and 2:58 to go, the Panthers took advantage of a short field following an onside kick by the Leopards and iced the win with one more score. That score came on a reverse play that saw senior WR Sean Myers toss a 32-yard touchdown pass to a wide open senior QB Michael Lahey to put the Panthers up 28-13 with 1:55 remaining in the contest.
Lahey also threw a pair of touchdown passes to senior WR Blayr Jimmerson, who first got Chapman on the board with a 4-yard score at 11:25 in the second quarter. Lahey and Jimmerson connected again early in the fourth quarter to put the Panthers up 21-6 on a 7-yard pass with 12:04 left. Lahey finished 16 of 22 for 182 yards, but was under pressure often and sacked three times.
Defense was the big story for the Panthers, limiting La Verne to just a pair of field goals through the first 57 minutes of play. The Chapman 'D' came up with four sacks and six tackles for loss, including three quarterback sacks by senior LB Sam Layton (three of his six tackles), who also had two of the Panthers' six pass breakups. Chapman forced a fumble midway through the fourth quarter that halted a La Verne drive into Chapman territory. Junior LB Garrett Frediani led the Panthers with eight tackles, including one tackle for loss.
Chapman will travel to Redlands for the winner-take-all showdown for the SCIAC title next Saturday in a game scheduled for 7 p.m. at Ted Runner Stadium. The Bulldogs are coming off a 40-3 win at Whittier on Saturday and are the defending SCIAC champs after edging the Panthers in a 21-17 win in Orange last season.
by Doug Aiken
Sports Information Director