The Chapman Panthers made a fierce victory against the Whittier Poets at Saturday’s homecoming and conference debut game, continuing their winning streak with a whopping score of 72-40. The game puts Chapman at first in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).
The Panthers (3-0, 1-0 SCIAC) were one touchdown shy of a 79-point win made in 1995, which holds the record for the most points in school history. They scored 28 points in the second quarter to take a 42-13 halftime lead, and then cruised to a 32-point victory. Junior starting quarterback Michael Lahey threw for 163 yards and two touchdowns, junior running back Cody Chapple ran for 125 yards and a touchdown and eight different Panthers scored touchdowns in their best offensive showing this season.
There was a record 5,430 fans in attendance at the game, which motivated the team to push forward, said junior quarterback Kean Stancil.
“When the crowd is into it, we definitely get into it too,” Stancil said. “We just want to thank everyone for coming out and supporting us.”
Senior wide receiver Robin Harris scored the first of Chapman’s ten touchdowns in the first 30 seconds of the game after a 52-yard trick play by junior quarterback Raymond Huizar. The Panthers then traded touchdowns with the Poets, as Whittier’s 41-yard touchdown to start the second made the score 14-13.
Chapman’s defense made two interceptions and a fumble recovery led to three out of their next four touchdowns. This left the Poets (0-3, 0-1 SCIAC) scoreless for the rest of the half with a score of 42-13.
“Learning how to be a champion is managing success,” said head coach Bob Owens. “You have to play 60 minutes of football. You don’t celebrate at halftime.”
Owens’s words were ominous at the beginning of the second half. Starting with a field goal, Chapman was duped by the Poets who ran a 94-yard kick off return for a touchdown bringing the score to 45-27. The two teams traded touchdowns yet again, leading to a 52-34 score late in the third.
That was the closest Whittier would get. After two more touchdowns by Chapman, the game was essentially over and the victory was Chapman’s with a final score of 72-40.
“As long as we executed and took care of what we needed to do on our side of the ball, we’d come out with a win,” said Robert Paulele, the running back coach and run game coordinator.
The Panthers will continue conference play on the road at Pomona-Pitzer, Saturday at 1 p.m.