Dominant defense downs Cal Lutheran

Tanner Mendoza is lifted by teammates after a touchdown.
Tanner Mendoza (photo by Larry Newman)

ORANGE, Calif. – Another dominant effort on the defensive end led to another lopsided victory for the Chapman University football team. The Panthers rolled to a 44-6 win over visiting Cal Lutheran to become the first team in Chapman's history to start a season 6-0.

The Panthers defense figured to be tested with a high-powered Cal Lutheran but the group rose to the occasion. They got to the quarterback early and often, sacking Cesar DeLeon six times and tallying another five QB hurries. An offense that averages 322 yards per game in the air was held to just 236 yards – most of which came on two plays.

For the second week in a row and third time this season, Chapman held its opponent to 10 yards or less. The Kingsmen managed just two yards on 19 carries. Over the last two weeks, the defense has allowed negative-four rushing yards on 38 carries.

Sophomore Duncan Heger led the team with six tackles and senior Ricky Medeiros had a team-best 1.5 sacks. Junior Dillon Keefe had five tackles, including a sack, and has recorded at least half a sack in every game this season. Senior Sal Ochoa III picked off a DeLeon pass for one of two Panther takeaways.

With the defense holding firm, the Kingsmen had just nine first downs in the game and went 3-for-13 on third down. They were held to 238 total yards. The Panthers ran for 226 yards and threw for 261 more to double up on the Kingsmen offensively 487-238.

Freshman Marcos Reyes scored a hat trick, finding the end zone three times on the night. He punched in a two-yard run to open the scoring, took a screen pass 40 yards with a wrecking crew of blockers in front, and caught a seven-yard swing pass for a touchdown.

The Panthers scored the first 20 points of the game with sophomore Wyatt Hardin catching 34-yard pass from classmate Reed Vettel after Reyes' first two scores. The Kingsmen's lone TD came on the very next play from scrimmage. DeLeon found James Holland one-on-one on the sideline. Holland jumped up to haul in the catch, shook off a tackle and sprinted to the end zone.

The extra point failed for a 20-6 Chapman lead. The defense swung the momentum back in Chapman's favor on the next drive in a big way. The next Cal Lutheran drive started on their own 27 and ended on their seven yard line just three plays later.

Senior Noah Kjos came  through the nearly unblocked for a seven-yard sack. Medeiros dragged down DeLeon after the pocket collapsed on second down for a four-yard sack. Medeiros and fellow senior Jonathan Bunnel met at DeLeon on third down for a nine-yard loss to force the 4th-and-30.

The Panthers dominated from that moment on. The longest Cal Lutheran drive was just seven plays and ended in a turnover on downs. The Panther offense scored 24 unanswered points to end the game with Reyes running for 101 yards on 12 attempts and sophomore Tanner Mendoza going for 99 yards and a 31-yard touchdown on 15 carries. Vettel was 11-for-17 for 176 yards and two TDs. Junior Jonston MacIntyre threw for 85 yards and a TD while also running for 16 yards.

The Panthers will take their undefeated record on the road next week to take on Pomona-Pitzer (4-2, 3-1 SCIAC) at 7 p.m.


By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director

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