ORANGE, Calif. – Senior Nathan Parkin grabbed three interceptions and the Chapman University football team stayed undefeated with a 26-21 victory at Pomona-Pitzer. The Panther continued the best start in program history, moving to 7-0 and 5-0 in the SCIAC.
Two of Parkin's three picks came in the second half and the third sealed the win for the Panthers. Chapman clung to a five-point lead through the entire fourth quarter and Pomona-Pitzer was driving with just over one minute to go.
The Sagehens had just entered the red zone when Karter Odermann threw a pass to the back of the end zone. Parkin was there to bring it down for his third pick of the night with 1:10 remaining and the Panthers picked up a first down three plays later to seal the win.
Parkin became just the fifth Panther in the history of the program to pick off three passes in a game and the first since 2005. Chapman held Pomona-Pitzer to 275 yards passing and 59 yards on the ground. The offense gained 438 yards, including 240 yards on the ground.
The Panthers fell behind early but put up 20 points in the second quarter to take a 20-7 lead into halftime. Junior Caleb Henshaw caught a 65-yard TD to put Chapman on the board. A 54-yard punt return from sophomore Wyatt Hardin after a three-and-out set up a one play touchdown drive to take the lead.
Sophomore Reed Vettel found sophomore John Krall for a 20-yard touchdown strike. Freshman Ken Baierl hit a pair of field goals – the last of which was set up by Parkin's first interception – for the halftime lead.
Chapman's first drive of the second half ended with Vettel's only interception and Pomona-Pitzer turned it into points with a three-yard Odermann run to make it 20-14. After turning it over on downs, the Panthers fueled the Sagehens' next drive with 45 yards of penalties. Odermann punched it in from one-yard out and a 21-20 Sagehen lead.
Freshman Marcos Reyes responded for the Panthers on the next drive when he broke several tackles in the middle of the field and bounced it outside for a 57-yard run. He put the Panthers back on top two players later when he found the end zone from three yards out and a 26-21 lead.
The Sagehens threatened twice in the fourth quarter but the defense held strong, forcing a turnover on downs on the 15 and grabbing an interception in the end zone to hang on for the win.
Sophomore Duncan Heger led the defense with 12 tackles and had all three Chapman sacks. Freshman Blake Siemsen had nine tackles and junior Dillon Keefe recorded five tackles, including a tackle for loss, as well as a couple of pass breakups.
Chapman is just one win away from clinching at least a share of the SCIAC title and hosts Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Saturday at 7 p.m.