Football games are 60 minutes, but the outcome of Chapman’s first conference game came down to just five seconds. After facing a 12-point deficit with less than five minutes left in the third quarter, Chapman closed the gap to just 6 points with one possession left.
Trailing by four points with a little more than a minute to go in the fourth quarter, Chapman drove from its own 44-yard line to Pomona-Pitzer’s one-yard line. As the last five seconds ticked away, senior running back Joe Mudie drove into the end zone as time expired to win the game for Chapman.
“I was talking to the team before the game, and we were focusing on finishing the game,” Mudie said. “All credit to our defense for coming out and killing it (during the) second half, and of course, the offense firing on all cylinders, which was a big way to finish.”
Chapman went into the second half down 19-7 due to wasted defensive opportunities after a missed snap on a punt attempt went soaring into the end zone. Chapman recovered the snap, causing a safety, which Pomona-Pitzer followed up with a field goal before the half ended.
Another failed snap on a punt just a minute into the third quarter gave Pomona-Pitzer a starting position on Chapman’s 20-yard line. Chapman’s defense held Pomona-Pitzer to a 34-yard field goal attempt, which was missed.
Chapman scored 35 of its 42 points in the second half. The second half scoring started with a touchdown from senior wide receiver Jacob Isabel, followed by a rushing touchdown from junior running back Brandon Medina.
On the next Chapman drive, senior quarterback Ricky Bautista delivered a bullet into the arms of Mudie at the four minute mark of the third quarter.
Chapman’s rally was highlighted by a 45-yard, one-handed touchdown grab from senior wide receiver Kayvan Aminzadeh, which saw the away crowd erupt.
“The pass was there, and Ricky (Bautista) gave me a chance to make the play,” Aminzadeh said.
Going into the fourth quarter, junior wide receiver Dominic Vaccher said he was optimistic, despite Chapman’s five-point deficit.
“Stay positive and we have this in the bag,” Vaccher said. “The team we lost to last week (Trinity University, Texas) was in the same boat as we are now and they came back, so I think we have a chance.”
Pomona opened the fourth quarter with a touchdown on its first drive, widening its lead to 12 with 12 minutes in the game.
The score stayed constant until the five-minute mark, when suddenly, junior defensive back Marek Spooner-LeDuff intercepted a pass at Pomona-Pitzer’s 42-yard line and returned it for a touchdown. With the score, Chapman took the lead 36-33 for the first time that night.
To give itself the three-point cushion, Chapman converted a tricky two-point extra point play in which Bautista made an unexpected handoff to Vaccher, who tossed the ball back to Bautista, who was waiting in the end zone.
On Chapman’s last drive, it was hit with a five-yard penalty for an ineligible man downfield. Despite the penalty, Bautista connected with Vaccher for a 23-yard and then 6-yard pass, setting up Mudie’s game-winning run.
“There was no quit,” said head coach Bob Owens. “We didn’t stop fighting. Every bit of adversity that we received – especially the 5-yard penalty on that last drive – we fought and did not give in.”