Football crushes Loggers in opener
Fans packed the Ernie Chapman Stadium Saturday night as the Panthers exploded on offense and beat the visiting Puget Sound Loggers 55-35, putting the football team at 1-0.
The game was never in question, despite a preseason plagued by starting quarterback junior Michael Lahey’s season ending injury. The Panthers wasted no time, as junior running back Austin Maranville returned the opening kick off 100 yards for a touchdown, setting a school record and putting Chapman up 7-0 less than 15 seconds into the game.
“We got off to a great start that woke us up and prepared us for the rest of the game,” said Head Coach Bob Owens.
The Loggers were forced to punt after going three and out and the Panthers started right back where they left off, driving 86 yards in 10 plays. Sophomore transfer quarterback Kean Stancil punched in the touchdown on a quarterback draw to put the Panthers up by 14, a margin that Puget Sound (0-2) couldn’t close in on for the rest of the night.
The Panthers scored two more times to push the lead to 28-0 by the start of the second quarter.
Stancil got the start under center with only days to prepare after taking last season off.
“I only found out a week ago I was going to start,” Stancil said. “I had a fun year away from football but it’s great to be back. We wanted to protect our house.
Stancil led the Panthers’ offensive effort, completing 26 of 32 passes for 339 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 35 yards and two touchdowns.
The Loggers put together a 76-yard drive that ended in a touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Braden Foley to senior wide receiver Adam Kniffin. This duo would account for almost all of the Loggers points, as Foley finished with 480 yards and five touchdowns. The rest of the half was similar, with Puget Sound scoring once more and Chapman scoring twice to end the half 42-14.
Panther momentum translated directly into the second half as the team continued its onslaught of the Loggers, scoring three more times to win the game by a lopsided margin. With Stancil commanding the pocket, the Panthers looked to sophomore running back Jeremiah McKibbins who was coming off of an injury stricken 2011 season. McKibbins responded with a monster game, averaging 6.4 yards per carry to finish with 154 yards and two touchdowns.
The combination of Stancil and McKibbins was too much for the Loggers who were unable to keep them out of the end zone, eventually losing by 20.
“You should expect this [every week],” McKibbins said. “I’m going to.”
As Chapman prepares for the remainder of the season, Owens was relieved with the win.
“It was an outstanding effort by our guys, we got off to a great start and then did the things we needed to get us the ball,” he said. “[Our team] got what they deserved.”
The Panthers will travel to Whitworth in Spokane, Wash. Sept 22 for a 1 p.m. game.
[For the record, 9:50 a.m. Sept. 11: An earlier version of this post reported this game occurred Friday.]