In its lowest-scoring game of the season, Chapman football suffered a 17-6 loss to the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags on Nov. 5. The Stags brought a tough defense to the game and prevented the Panthers from scoring a touchdown.
The Panthers (4-4, 3-3) were coming off of their third Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) victory after beating California Lutheran University last week. Both Chapman and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (6-2, 4-2) came into the game with an identical conference record of 3-2.
With the loss, Chapman’s final game of the season — which will be a home game against Occidental College (1-7, 1-5) Nov. 12 — will decide whether the team finishes with a winning or losing record.
Head coach Bob Owens said the team’s offense was disappointing.
“Offensively, we just didn’t play well. We were very inconsistent,” Owens said. “It was very hard because it was very uncharacteristic of how we play and how we have played in the last three football games and it was very unexpected.”
Chapman struggled throughout the game to build any offensive momentum. After the Panthers failed to capitalize on an interception by senior defensive back Lorenzo Marks midway through the first quarter, the Stags regained possession and were able to put their first points on the scoreboard. Senior kicker Matthew Aven completed his ninth successful field goal of the season in the first five seconds of the second quarter, putting Claremont-Mudd-Scripps up 3-0.
The first touchdown of the game came in the second quarter. The Stags’ offense began rolling with a drive down to the Chapman 19-yard line. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps junior tight end Chris Cziesla ran the ball just inches from the goal line and freshman fullback Christian Curcio then ran the ball into the end zone. This was followed by a successful extra point by freshman kicker Rami Lieberman, bringing to score to 10-0.
The Panthers put their first points on the board after junior wide receiver Jacob Isabel received a punt and returned the ball all the way down to the Stags’ 8-yard line. After a penalty and a sack that brought Chapman back to the 21-yard line, junior kicker Lucas Alfonso converted a field goal, bringing the score to 10-3.
In the second half, the Stags’ defense maintained its ability to limit Chapman’s offensive output, while their offense had success. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps moved downfield to the Chapman 5-yard line and midway through the third quarter, Curcio scored his second touchdown of the game followed by another Lieberman extra point.
Chapman had arguably its most promising drive of the game starting with a 24-yard run by junior quarterback Ricky Bautista. Junior running back Joe Mudie ran for 20 yards just two plays later and then caught a pass for 13-yard gain two plays later. Because Bautista was sacked for a 9-yard loss on the previous play and the ensuing play resulted in an incomplete pass, Chapman had to settle for another Alfonso field goal, which brought the score to its final standing, 17-6.
After the Stags ran down the clock considerably in their second-to-last possession, the game ended in an unsuccessful drive by the Panthers who turned the ball back over to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on downs in the last seconds of the game. The Stags finished with a total of 348 yards and the Panthers finished with 126.
Chapman will play its final game of the season at 1 p.m. at home on Nov. 12 against Occidental.