Thanks to a commanding second-half performance against the California Lutheran University Kingsmen Oct. 29, the Chapman football team strung together consecutive wins for the first time this season. The visiting Panthers trailed 12-7 at halftime, but shut out the Kingsmen in the second half en route to a 27-12 win.
Despite allowing a Cal Lutheran (3-4, 3-2) touchdown on the first drive of the game, Chapman (4-3, 3-2) responded with a touchdown of its own in the same quarter, as junior quarterback Ricky Bautista and junior wide receiver Jacob Isabel connected on a 39-yard pass. The score gave Chapman a one-point lead after Cal Lutheran missed its extra point while Chapman converted its chance.
Chapman would give up another touchdown to the Kingsmen before the end of the first half, but early in the second half, Bautista and Isabel reconnected, this time on a 33-yard touchdown pass. The touchdown gave Chapman a two-point lead after Cal Lutheran missed its second extra point attempt.
Head coach Bob Owens said that the team’s improved levels of aggression significantly impacted its performance in the second half.
“We played an outstanding California Lutheran football team,” Owens said. “That first half was a great matchup between two tough football teams. I just thought the second half, our execution went up, our focus went up. We had fewer penalties and just really our aggressiveness. I think we were quite a bit more aggressive than they were in the second half.”
The Panthers never relinquished the lead after their early third quarter touchdown and added to their tally with two more touchdowns. Later in the third quarter, Chapman stormed down the field in six plays after a 41-yard pass by Bautista to senior wide receiver Ethan Weinstein. Weinstein was stopped at the 1-yard line, but Bautista ran the ball in for a touchdown on the next play.
aaDespite a missed extra point after the touchdown, which kept it a one-possession game, Chapman opened the fourth quarter with another touchdown to secure the result. After a 13-play, 79-yard drive, sophomore tight end Ben Bruce ran in a 2-yard touchdown for the Panthers to give them the 15-point lead they’d finish with.
Owens said the margin of the win was significant for the team.
“(The win was) very important,” Owens said. “It was two very good football teams where either team could have won this game and we not only won the game, but we won it convincingly. I think that was really important for us.”
Chapman only has two more games left in the regular season. First, it faces on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (5-2, 3-2) on Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. After that, the Panthers will end the regular season home aainst Occidental College (1-6, 1-4) on Nov. 12. Owens said the team’s goal is simply to win-out.
“We have two games against two big football teams left,” Owens said. “Our goal is to win both of those games and finish the season on a high note. What we have to do is just focus on Claremont and go into this week and win.”