Football opens 2019 season on the road at Pacific

The Chapman football team runs on the field before the game.
photo by Larry Newman

Chapman at Pacific
Friday, September 6, 2019
Hanson Stadium (Forest Grove, Ore.)
7 p.m.
Live Stats | Video  Notes


The Panthers open the 2019 season on the road in a rare Friday Night Lights edition of college football. The Panthers travel north to Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore. for a 7 p.m. match up.


The history between these two programs goes back just one year. Pacific – in its 10th year since reviving its football program – visited Chapman – in its 26th season since its revival – for the 2018 season-opener. The Panthers posted a dominant 36-6 win, allowing just five yards rushing to the Boxers. Meanwhile, the Panthers had a fitting start to its record-breaking season through the air with 370 passing yards and five passing TDs.


In the 25 seasons since reviving the football program, the Panthers have never strung together four consecutive winning seasons. That all can change this year with at least five wins. Chapman has posted a winning season in each of the last three seasons and six of the last seven, making it the winningest stretch in Panther history. The Panthers opened the season with a win last year and will look to do the same on Friday in Oregon.


Junior Jonston MacIntyre was listed as the starting quarterback after a quarterback battle that lasted through fall camp with sophomore Reed Vettel as the backup. MacIntyre was the only player that came into 2019 with the experience of taking a snap in a college game. He was 14-of-19 last year with 171 yards and three touchdown passes while appearing in three games. With the battle coming down to the final week of camp, Vettel will likely get the opportunity to make his collegiate debut.


Despite losing five key starters to graduation, the Panthers return plenty of experience on the defensive side of the ball. All-SCIAC lineman Ricky Medeiros along with All-SCIAC cornerback Franky Narez headline the eight returners on the defensive side of the ball along with 2017 SCIAC Newcomer of the Year Dillon Keefe at linebacker. Junior Chris Tsirtsis will lineup opposite of Narez after hauling in a pair of interceptions last season. Junior David Aarhus and senior Sal Ochoa III also return to the starting lineup. Ochoa's 54 tackles are the most among returners while he also returned a pick for a touchdown. Senior Jonathan Bunnell had 2.5 sacks while leading the team with two forced fumbles last season and is listed as a starter for the first time this season. Seniors Noah Kjos, Nathan Parkin and junior Jalen Dural were regulars on the field a year ago but make the jump to starters this season. Freshman Blake Siemsen will make his first start in his first collegiate game at inside linebacker.


Seniors Ryan Moles and Jacob Wilbanks are the only two returning starters on the line and are joined by upper classmen Scott Craig, Brandon Lewis and Hunter Goeken. All-SCIAC selection Trevor Vill returns at wide receiver after a breakout 2018 season that included 11 touchdown catches. Speedy junior Nico Ragas caught 14 passes last season and will make the jump to starter this season alongside sophomore Zach Shorts. Junior Will Mudie makes his first start at tight end while sophomore Tanner Mendoza earned his first starting job at running back.


Owen Tapia and Ken Baierl join the Panthers to take over the kicking and punting duties in 2019 with Baierl kicking the field goals and Tapia taking over the punting and kickoffs. Baierl's first field goal will break a season-and-a-half long field goal drought for the Panthers. In 2017, Chapman needed to kick just three field goals on the way to a SCIAC title. In 2018, the Panthers were 0-for-5 in field goal attempts. The last made field goal was on Oct. 21, 2017 in a win at La Verne.


Chapman was a menace in opponents' backfields all season long in 2018. The Panthers' 25 sacks tied for the most since 1996. Their 63 tackles for loss were the most in more than a decade. Over the last three years, the Panthers have averaged over 24 sacks and 45 tackles for loss with each season ranking in the top-7 in program history.


Chapman plays just two games in the opening month of the season – both against Northwest Conference opponents. After taking on Pacific on Friday, the Panthers host No. 12 Whitworth on Sep. 21. After another bye week, SCIAC play begins with a home game against Whittier on Oct. 5. Chapman is 11-23 against the Northwest Conference all-time.


This is the Panthers' first trip to Forest Grove although they've made several trips to nearby Linfield in the past six years. After falling to Chapman in the opener, Pacific rebounded to a 5-5 record in 2018 with a 4-3 record in the NWC. The Boxers rushed for only five yards against the Panthers and managed just 585 rushing yards in their 10-game schedule last year while passing for 240 yards per game. The defense allowed over 118 yards per game on the ground but limited opponents to just 222.7 yards through the air. While the Boxers will also have a new face under center, the top-4 targets from last year return.