After finding itself unable to score a touchdown against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps last weekend, the Chapman football team responded in the last game of the regular season by securing a winning record in a 61-37 win over the Occidental College Tigers Nov. 12. The team secured a winning record, but will not be advancing to the playoffs.
After managing a mere 126 yards on offense against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (7-2, 5-2) last weekend, the Panthers (5-4, 4-3) responded with an offensively commanding performance Saturday night, racking up 642 yards.
The game kicked off with a ceremony for the seniors, as they and their families were all honored before the annual senior game.
Senior wide receiver Ethan Weinstein said he’ll miss the post-win atmosphere of the team.
“Definitely winning with the team is a real special thing and there is nothing like it,” Weinstein said. “The feelings I get when we all perform well and we all do our job is really special, so I will miss that.”
The Panthers set the tone of the game immediately, as junior quarterback Ricky Bautista connected with junior wide receiver Jacob Isabel for a touchdown on the first drive of the game.
Occidental immediately responded with a touchdown of its own. After a successful fourth down conversion, senior quarterback Bryan Scott connected with junior wide receiver Isaiah Amaechi in the end zone to tie up the game.
The back and forth continued as Chapman scored another touchdown on the ensuing drive when Bautista completed a pass to Weinstein who then ran the ball into the end zone.
Bautista said the team’s energy level set the tone going into the game.
“The momentum was our ability to march downfield. We were fired up when we came out and all we needed to do was make plays and the rest fell into place,” Bautista said.
Occidental scored another touchdown but failed a two-point conversion and Chapman again responded with a touchdown of its own. Junior running back Joe Mudie ran the ball in from six yards out before junior kicker Lucas Alfonso’s kick was blocked.
After an Occidental field goal on the ensuing drive, Chapman began to break the game open, outscoring the Tigers 20-3 in the second quarter, with Weinstein scoring his second touchdown of the game on a 13-yard pass. Chapman then forced Occidental to punt on its next drive and came back with another Weinstein touchdown, this time on a 39-yard pass play.
To close out the half, senior defensive back Lorenzo Marks intercepted an Occidental pass. Chapman then scored another touchdown with 20 seconds left as Bautista passed to junior wide receiver Ian Craddock, giving Chapman a 40-16 lead at the half.
The second half continued the offensive battle as Chapman scored with another touchdown on its second possession of the half, when Bautista completed a pass to junior running back Diano Pachote. On Chapman’s next drive, Isabel caught a pass and ran the ball down to the Occidental 13-yard line, allowing junior running back Darrin Nishi to run the ball in for a touchdown on the next play.
Occidental immediately responded with a touchdown of its own to open the fourth quarter. Junior quarterback Lukas O’Connor came into the game to replace Bautista and then connected with Weinstein on a 41-yard pass to end the 61-point Chapman onslaught.
The next possession resulted in Weinstein’s fourth touchdown of the game and Chapman’s last.
Occidental added another touchdown along with a two-point conversion, but the 24-point margin rendered the score meaningless on the outcome.
Head coach Bob Owens said he was proud of his team’s dynamism in the game.
“(It felt) awesome,” Owens said. “They (Occidental) are a good football team and people will focus on the fact that they only won a game, but offensively, they have been one of the best offensive football teams in the conference all year. They are a very dynamic team. I felt what was great for us was that our guys just did things that they were supposed to do the way we talk about doing them. As you can see, when we do things right, we are pretty dynamic ourselves.”