ORANGE, Calif. – The SCIAC Champions Chapman University football team made school history as the Panthers took home four of the five major awards and earned 12 All-SCIAC selections. Nine Panthers were selected to the First Team and three players earned Second Team honors.
For the first time since joining the conference in 2012, a Panther was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year and the Newcomer of the Year. Senior defensive tackle Austin Pyka was awarded the Defensive Player of the Year and freshman linebacker Dillon Keefe earned the distinction of Newcomer of the Year. Senior quarterback Ricky Bautista became the second Panther to earn Offensive Player of the Year from the SCIAC after another standout season. Head coach Bob Owens and his staff were recognized as the Coaching Staff of the Year for the second time.
Six more Panthers earned First Team selections, including seniors Jacob Isabel, Joe Mudie, and Chris Williams. Juniors Andrew Dieken and Alec Kohn joined sophomore Ryan Moles on the First Team while seniors Lucas Alfonso and Adam O'Shea were selected to the Second Team along with junior Ben Bruce.
Bautista had an explosive year, carving his name in the Chapman record books and headlining the Panther awards. The Panthers' QB bettered the career passing efficiency record set by Michael Lahey by 10 points, posting a rating of 171.9 over his two-year career as a Panther. He also destroyed the previous school records for yards per game in a single season and a career with 265.1 yards per game this season - over 10 yards greater than the previous record. He boosted his career average to 225.1 yards per game, which was nearly 25 yards more than the previous record set in 2008.
The Irvine native led the SCIAC in touchdowns with 24, which also beat out Stanley Villanueva's 1999 school record for most touchdowns in a single season. To cap off a record-setting career, Bautista recorded his second career 400-yard game against Redlands, becoming the first quarterback in Chapman history to record more than one 400-yard game.
Pyka entered into the Chapman history book as the first player to take home SCIAC Defensive Player of the Year honors after earning First Team honors a year ago. The Panthers' defensive tackle clogged up the middle all year and ranked third on the Panthers with 45 total tackles this season, averaging 5.6 tackles per game. The Anaheim Hills, Calif. native tallied 4.5 tackles for a loss of nine yards, including one half-sack, and helped lead the Chapman defense to be one of the best in the SCIAC. With Pyka in the middle of Chapman's 3-4 defense, the Panthers led the conference in sacks and rush yards allowed.
Keefe became the Panthers' first freshman recognized as the SCIAC's Newcomer of the Year. The rookie ranked second on the squad with 49 tackles and third on the team with 2.5 sacks. The Orange, Calif. native averaged 5.4 tackles per game and recorded five tackles for a loss of 30 yards.
First team wide receiver Isabel also etched his name in the Chapman record books after an impressive senior season and earned his second All-SCIAC honor. The Pleasanton, Calif. native recorded 1,050 receiving yards this season, setting the school record for most yards in a single season and becoming just the third Panther to have a 1,000 yard season. He also crushed the previous single season and career average yards per game records. The wide receiver led the SCIAC with 137.7 yards per game in SCIAC games this season while his nine receiving TDs in SCIAC games also led the conference. He averaged 99.1 yards per game in his two-year career as a Panther, beating out Marvin Qualls (1999-01) for the most in school history, and was the first receiver in Chapman history to haul in 10 TDs in a season. The veteran caps off an explosive offensive career with 11 100-yard games – the most of any player in Chapman history.
Mudie, who was a member of both SCIAC championship teams at Chapman, ranked second in the SCIAC with 110.9 yards per game this season to earn his second All-SCIAC honor but first First Team honor. The running back rushed for eight touchdowns, leading the Panthers and ranking fourth in the SCIAC. He ranked second on the squad and fourth in the conference with an average of 134.3 all-purpose yards per game and tallied one receiving touchdown against Cal Lutheran. The La Canada, Calif. native tallied five 100-yard games this season - all against SCIAC opponents. The senior finished his career with eight 100-yard games, the third most in Chapman history.
Williams, a Second Team selection last year, and Dieken, a first-time selection, were staples for the Chapman defense this season, tallying 43 and 31 tackles, respectively. Dieken led the Panthers and the SCIAC with six sacks for a total loss of 39 yards. He dragged down opponents behind the line of scrimmage 14 times to lead the conference in tackles for loss as well. Williams ranked fourth on the team with 4.6 tackles per game and came down with one interception in the Panthers' NCAA tournament game at Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Kohn and Moles, who both earned their first career All-SCIAC recognition, helped clear the way for one of the best offenses in the SCIAC. The offensive line allowed just 10 sacks in eight games - the least among all the teams in the SCIAC. The Panthers were the highest scoring team in the SCIAC, averaging 44 points per game, and led the conference with 521.5 yards of total offense per game against SCIAC opponents. Kohn and Moles also helped the Chapman squad to have the second-most passing and rush yards per game in the SCIAC.
Bruce and O'Shea landed their first career All-SCIAC honors with Second Team recognition. Bruce tallied six receptions for a total of 63 yards and two touchdowns this season to earn his first career All-Conference honor. He hauled in a crucial 31-yard touchdown reception against Cal Lutheran. O'Shea recorded 19 tackles this season, averaging 2.4 per game. He had two tackles for loss, including half of a sack.
This is Alfonso's second year as an All-SCIAC selection. The kicker landed on the Second Team after going 3-for-5 on field goals and 30-for-33 on PAT's this year with a long field goal of 33 yards. The Woodland Hills, Calif. native was the second-highest scoring kicker in SCIAC games this season with 34 points.
The Panthers won their second SCIAC title in four years but saw their season come to an end in a first round loss at Mary Hardin-Baylor last week. Five of the Panthers' 12 All-SCIAC selections are due to return to the field in 2018.
by Steven Olveda and Katie Bell
Sports Information Director and Assistant