Few things in football look as seamless as a wide receiver catching a ball in stride for a touchdown. The offensive line needs to block well enough to give the quarterback time to find his receiver, and the quarterback has to deceive the defense to give his receiver space and then hurl an inch-perfect pass to that receiver. Finally, the receiver has to make a perfect run and catch at full-speed while looking over his shoulder – it takes a lot of efficiently moving parts.
That efficiency was on display Oct. 14, when Chapman put on a dominant offensive performance in a 45-26 win against the University of Redlands that culminated with a late fourth quarter touchdown from senior quarterback Ricky Bautista to senior wide receiver Jacob Isabel. The ball dropped into Isabel’s arms without him changing a step, extending Chapman’s lead to 26 points with seven minutes to go in the game.
“When you catch the ball in stride, you know that everyone else did their job and it’s just an easy catch,” said Isabel. “Ricky (Bautista) has a great arm, so it’s just usually me versus the defensive back, and Ricky puts it in a spot where the defensive back can’t get it and only I can.”
In three out of the last four years, either Chapman or the University of Redlands has won the conference title. In 2013, Chapman’s only loss came to Redlands and Redlands went undefeated, winning the conference title. In 2014, the roles switched. Chapman went undefeated and was the only team to beat Redlands en route to its last conference title. That relationship has created a competitive rivalry between the teams.
“Redlands, every year, is one of the top dogs, and we look at them and that’s the team that we need to take down in order to be in first place in the (conference),” said Isabel.
Chapman did just that Oct. 14, never once trailing Redlands. The win moved Chapman to the top of the conference at 3-0, meaning no team can catch up to Chapman if it wins the rest of its games.
“(This win is) very important,” said head coach Bob Owens. “It gives us a leg up in the conference championship. But it’s a long ways (away) for us.”
Chapman’s success was highlighted both by its offensive efficiency and defensive stinginess.
Offensively, seven of Chapman’s 12 drives – two of which ended with the conclusion of the first and second halves – resulted in scores. Bautista threw for 388 yards and four touchdowns. Three of those touchdowns came from Isabel, who set Chapman career highs with 11 receptions and 215 receiving yards.
Bautista credited Chapman’s offensive line for his performance.
“None of the touchdowns would have happened if it wasn’t for (the offensive line),” Bautista said. “There are times where I see Jake (Isabel) singled up with a (player), and I’ll take my shot or help him get open by looking off safeties.”
While Chapman looked to be in control for the majority of the game, there was a moment early in the second half when the momentum shifted. Redlands scored a touchdown less than two minutes into the half, which closed the gap to 15 points. On Chapman’s next drive, senior running back Joe Mudie committed the team’s only turnover of the game, fumbling and turning over the ball at Chapman’s own 28-yard line.
That position left Redlands nearly in field goal range. Three plays later, after an incomplete pass and an eight-yard loss, Chapman’s defense forced Redlands to set up for a field goal from 48 yards out. Redlands missed the attempt and never closed the gap to fewer than 12 points the rest of the game.
“It was a very crucial moment,” said sophomore linebacker Ramon Chaves. “After the half, (Redlands) came out and drove it all the way on us, and it kind of made us realize we had to go a little faster and go a little harder – we can’t let up, because this is a really good team.”
Chapman’s next game will be at 1 p.m. Oct. 21 at the University of La Verne.