SCIAC champs wrap up regular season at La Verne

The football team runs onto the field.
Photo by Larry Newman

No. 13 Chapman at La Verne
Saturday, November 16, 2019
Ortmayer Stadium (La Verne, Calif.)
1 p.m.
Live Stats | Video Notes


It's a cat fight to end the season. The Panthers of Chapman University head to La Verne to take on the Leopards in the 2019 regular season finale.


The Panthers took the series lead last year and now hold a 12-11 all-time edge. Chapman has won the last three contests in a row since La Verne won the 2015 SCIAC title. The 2015 loss is Chapman's only loss to La Verne since joining the SCIAC in 2012. The matchup has featured some high-scoring affairs with Chapman scoring 30 or more points in six of the seven meetings. Since 2012, the team's have averaged nearly a combined 60 points per game with the Panthers holding a 39.4-20.4 edge.


With last week's win over CMS, Chapman clinched at least a share of its third conference title in the last six years. With Redlands' only loss on the season coming at Chapman, the Bulldogs could claim a co-championship if the Panthers were to stumble at La Verne. A win on Saturday for Chapman claims the title outright.


The 2019 Panthers have already etched out a place in program history as the first team to start a season 8-0. This team can further cement its place in the history books with a win on Saturday. Chapman's eight wins in 2019 ties the 1995, 2013 and 2014 squads for the most wins in a season. None of the squads were able to get to nine.


As the win streak continues, the Panthers continue to move up the rankings. Chapman is up to an all-time program-best No. 13 in the poll and No. 14 in the AFCA poll. The Panthers have also moved up in the NCAA West Region rankings to No. 2 as one of just two undefeated teams left in the West. Chapman is looking up only at UW-Whitewater in the West Region.


Senior Nathan Parkin is tearing through opposing offenses the last two weeks. After a three-interception performance against Pomona-Pitzer, the senior corner caused and recovered a fumble on CMS' second play from scrimmage then picked off another pass later in the game. He is the first Panther with five picks in a season since 2012 when Cameron Cutter hauled in five interceptions. He is just the seventh player in Chapman history to grab five picks in a season and ranks in the top-10 in school history with six career INTs.


The Panthers' party in the backfield raged on against CMS as the front seven combined for four sacks and nine total tackles for loss. Junior Dillon Keefe was in the backfield for a pair of sacks to raise his SCIAC-leading total to 8.5 for the season. Senior Jonathan Bunnel made four tackles in the game but three came behind the scrimmage. Seniors Noah Kjos and Ricky Medeiros also caught someone behind the line last week and both rank in the top-11 for sacks and tackles for loss in the SCIAC.


The Panthers' defense continued to be one of the most difficult to run against in the nation. While CMS ended the game with 129 rushing yards, 123 of those yards came after the Stags' faced a 41-3 deficit. Through the first half, CMS had a total of negative one rushing yard and had just three first downs. The Stags had the second most rushing yards against Chapman this season but Chapman's defense still ranks fifth in all of Division III, allowing just 58 yards per game. That average is 21 yards less than the Chapman record for rushing against the Panthers. The 1995 team gave up 714 rushing yards through nine games. The 2019 team has surrendered just 447 yards on the ground through eight games.


With 21 points in the second quarter against CMS, the Panthers continued to dominate the second. While offense ran its second quarter total to 128 points this season. The defense held CMS scoreless, keeping the opposing teams' combined total to just 31 points in the second quarter this season. The Panthers are outscoring their opponents by 96 points in the second quarter and by a margin of 189-59 in the first half.


With fours sacks last week, the 2019 Panthers became just the third squad in program history to get to 30 sacks in a season. The only other teams to accumulate more than 30 sacks came at the very beginning of the program when the inaugural 1994 team had 47 sacks and the 1995 team followed it up with 37 sacks.


The Leopards have run the ball 140 more times than they have thrown it this season. They are averaging 189 yards per game compared to 139 yards through the air. Sam Taylor and Matthew Albright have been splitting time at QB with Taylor getting the start and the majority of the snaps. A pair of running backs have split the bulk of the carries and each average over 50 yards per game. Taylor averages about six additional carries for 37.1 yards per game. The Leopards defense is surrendering just less than 35 points per game and nearly 455 yards per game. Preston Carr averages over 10 tackles per game while the Leopards have grabbed 13 interceptions this season – tied with Chapman for the second-most in the SCIAC.