ORANGE, Calif. – Sophomore Nico Ragas took back the opening kick for a touchdown and the Chapman University football team cruised to a 62-0 Homecoming victory over Occidental. The Panthers (3-2, 2-1 SCIAC) scored in all facets of the game and shutout an opponent for the first time since Homecoming in 2014.
Ragas made Chapman history when he took the opening kick back 97 yards for a touchdown. He became the first Chapman player to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in a career. However, he returned both of his in the same season on back-to-back kickoffs. His final kick return last week at Redlands was a 100-yarder for a touchdown.
It took just two offensive plays for the Panther offense to get on the board. After a three-and-out on the defensive end and a 13-yard run from junior Derek Bauerle, the Panthers ran a reverse to senior Dominic Vaccher. Vaccher pulled and tossed a perfect pass to junior Trevor Vill for a 38-yard touchdown.
The touchdowns continued to come. Vill hauled in two more touchdown passes of 15 and 41 yards. He went over 100 yards receiving for the fifth game in a row (every game this season), finishing with 144 yards on six catches.
Three different quarterbacks completed a pass, not including Vaccher's TD toss. Senior Ian Fieber completed 12-of-16 passes for 170 yards and three TDs. Sophomore Jonston MacIntyre complete 8-of-10 for 98 yards and two TDs and senior Dylan Bell completed his only pass for 10 yards. The Panthers racked up 316 yards through the air and 110 yards on the ground.
Defensively, the Panthers picked off a pair of passes with senior Sal Ochoa III taking one interception back 36 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter. Sophomore Chris Tsirtsis took away his second interception of the season in the first quarter.
The Chapman defense allowed Occidental (0-4, 0-3 SCIAC) across midfield just twice in the game. The Tigers made it into the red zone just once but missed the field goal try from 34 yards out. They had just one drive last longer than six plays and covered more than 20 yards on a single drive just once. Chapman outgained Occidental 426-118. With just 16 pass attempts, the Panthers didn't record a sack for the first time this season but made their presence in the backfield known with eight tackles for loss.
Senior Ben Bruce caught three passes and took two into the end zone. Vaccher hauled in a TD pass in addition to throwing one and sophomore Nicholas Callen ran in the Panthers' final touchdown from 24 yards out to compete the rout.
Chapman head back out on the road next Saturday to take on Cal Lutheran at 7 p.m.
By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director