After a tough loss to the University of Redlands last week, the Chapman football team (3-3, 2-2) was able to rebound on Saturday, Oct. 22 and secure a 30-7 victory against the University of La Verne Leopards (1-5, 1-3), who were coming off of a 57-56 homecoming win against Occidental College.
Chapman had a 9-11 overall record against La Verne going into the game (now 10-11) and in the last meeting, the Leopards won 49-42, with all seven of La Verne’s touchdowns being scored on the ground.
On the first drive of the game, junior quarterback Ricky Bautista was able to find a hole in La Verne’s defense and run the ball in for a touchdown. Junior kicker Lucas Alfonso then tacked on the extra point to put Chapman up 7-0.
Bautista credited the offensive line for opening up a hole for him.
“The offensive line blocked great and, you know, when they do block great that opens up things for the offense,” Bautista said. “When they push guys outside, then it opens up seams and the ability to take off and run, so that’s what we took advantage of.”
The Leopards’ first drive ended quickly after a few short gains by senior running back Dallas Parent, who rushed for a total of 298 yards last week but was held by the Panthers this week to 37.
In previous games this season, the Panthers have faced issues when it comes to accuracy and success in third down conversions, something Bautista said was down to, “just executing the play. If everyone does their job then we can get a first down, just execution basically.”
The Leopards put their first and final points on the board when sophomore quarterback Josh Evans was able to connect downfield, which led to a run by Parent into the end zone. This was followed by sophomore kicker Eric Rembecky’s successful extra point bringing the score to 10-7 near the end of first quarter.
After a Chapman field goal and an unsuccessful drive by the Leopards, the Panthers regained possession only to add another touchdown and extra point to finish off the half. With third down and 9 yards to go, Bautista ran the ball to La Verne’s 25-yard line and then threw a complete pass to senior wide receiver Ethan Weinstein, which was followed up by an extra point.
Late in the third quarter, Chapman added its final touchdown of the game, courtesy of a 37-yard pass from Bautista to junior wide receiver Jacob Isabel.
After an unsuccessful fourth down fake punt attempt by the Leopards, the fourth quarter began with Alfonso kicking a 39-yard field goal, giving Chapman its 30-7 winning margin.
In La Verne’s final attempts to score, Chapman senior defensive end Ben Wadors was able to sack senior quarterback Zachary Tomlinson twice, bringing his sack total to three. All hope was lost for La Verne after Tomlinson’s pass was picked off in the end zone by junior cornerback Ron Washington.
Wadors credited the team’s commitment for his success.
“I think it is just team effort. You don’t get sacks unless everyone else is doing their job covering and keeping the quarterback in the pocket,” Wadors said. “(Senior linebacker Eddie Lee) Favors and I talk a lot, so he helps me out with my moves and telling me what’s working. I was in the zone and on top of that, I know (sophomore defensive back) Trevor Ross was watching me from the sidelines, so before the fourth quarter he was giving me some helpful pointers.”
Coming into the game, La Verne averaged 31 points a game. Favors said Chapman’s ability to stop crucial plays had a big part in the team’s defensive success.
“Stopping big plays and stopping whatever they thought would work and working as a team and having fun really, the biggest part is having fun,” Favors said. “You go out there playing a child’s game, you know.”
The Panthers will play at California Lutheran University (3-3, 3-1) on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 1 p.m.
Oct. 24, 10:45 a.m. — Correction: The headline has been corrected to say that football lost against Redlands Oct. 15.