Chapman loses after last-minute Pomona-Pitzer touchdown


After winning the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) championship last year, the Panthers would need to win their next two games and Claremont McKenna College and the University of Redlands would both need to lose their final two games in order for Chapman to win again this year. Photo by Gabriella Anderson

Late in the fourth quarter of the Chapman football game against Pomona-Pitzer University, the Panthers were left trailing 17-14.

With the chance for a comeback looming, senior quarterback Ian Fieber connected with senior receiver Dominic Vaccher for a 48-yard completion, setting up the Panthers with the perfect field position going into the final two minutes of the game.

Four plays later, halfback Jake Newman punched in a four-yard touchdown run with 56 seconds left on the clock, giving the Panthers the lead again. But the fourth quarter score wasn’t enough.

The ball was then handed over to the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens’ offense. Trailing Chapman 21-17, the Sagehen’s backup quarterback, senior Edward Sias, put up an 80-yard touchdown drive, ending in a 30-yard touchdown pass with only three seconds left, taking the air out of Chapman’s stadium in an instant.

“Tough game. We had the opportunity to win it and we let it slip away,” said Bob Owens, Chapman’s head coach.

On the ensuing kickoff return, an unsuccessful display of laterals resulted in the Panthers’ loss, 24-21.

In spite of the loss, Fieber finished the game with 263 yards thrown and a touchdown. Vaccher finished with nine receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown.

With a strong 94-yard performance on the ground, Newman, a 5-foot-9-inch halfback, said he commends Chapman’s offense.

“The o-line did really great. It was really all on them,” Newman said. “Obviously, I’m not the biggest guy. I just tried to break away and find what I could find.”

Senior linebacker Curt Calomeni said the Sagehens are competitive.

“When playing a team like Pomona they capitalize on everything,” Calomeni said.

Despite the loss, the team doesn’t feel as if they need to make changes, and is confident in their capabilities, Owens said.

“We don’t need to make changes. We just let it slide and we won’t question whether we’re a good football team. We are a very good football team,” Owens said.

The Panthers are the reigning Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) champions, but the title this year is still up for grabs.

To win the championship this year, the Panthers not only need to win their remaining two games in the season, but Claremont McKenna College and the University of Redlands also need to lose their final two games. The Panthers sit in third place in the SCIAC standings with a 3-2 conference record.

The Panthers will play SCIAC rival Claremont McKenna College at Claremont on Nov. 3 at 1 p.m.