Football opens homestand with No. 10 Whitworth

The football team runs on to the field.
Photo by Larry Newman

No. 10 Whitworth at Chapman
Saturday, September 21, 2019
Ernie Chapman Stadium (Orange, Calif.)
7 p.m.
Live Stats | Video Notes | Tickets


Chapman football takes on No. 10 Whitworth in the 2019 home-opener on Saturday at Chapman Stadium. The Panthers and Pirates meet for the second year in a row as part of the SCIAC-NWC Challenge. 


The two programs are fairly familiar with each other in recent years as this is their seventh meeting in the last eight years and 11th overall.  Chapman is 3-10 against Whitworth all-time but have won two of the last three meetings in Orange. The Pirates took a 31-28 win last year in Spokane, Wash., but the three-point margin of victory was their slimmest of the season. Chapman's 28 points were also tied for the most given up in Whitworth's NWC title run.


With a 45-14 road win in the rear view, the Panthers head back to Orange for their longest home stretch of the season. After hosting 10th-ranked Whitworth on Saturday, the Panthers host Whittier on Oct. 5 and Redlands on Oct. 12 before hitting the road again.


The preseason poll in the NWC picked defending champion Whitworth to repeat in 2019. With Whitworth picked as the favorite, the Panthers have had the NWC favorite on their schedule in five of the last six seasons. From 2014-17, it was Linfield that was favored and on Chapman's schedule. Since Whitworth dethroned Linfield in 2018, the Panthers have played the last five NWC champions.


The Panthers' 395 rushing yards in the opener against Pacific were the most for the program since 2012 when the Panthers ran for 453 yards against La Verne. At the front of the rushing attack, a pair of freshmen combined for over 200 yards. Isaiah Woods led the effort with 139 yards – on just 13 carries – and a touchdown while Marcos Reyes took the ball nine times in his debut for 78 yards and two scores. Junior QB Jonston MacIntyre carried the ball eight times for 65 yards and another TD. Junior Nick Callen carried the ball eight times for 37 yards and sophomore Tanner Mendoza ran six times for 23 yards.


The battle for QB1 continued into week one as both MacIntyre and sophomore Reed Vettel took snaps. MacIntyre took the first snap and led the Panthers down the field for an opening drive touchdown to Trevor Vill. He was 9-of-15 for 84 yards in the game in addition to his 65 rushing yards. Vettel was 6-for-11 in his first collegiate action for 111 yards and two TDs. Vettel completed three of his passes to Zach Shorts with each of those passes going for at least 30 yards.


Junior linebacker Dillon Keefe had a big start to the season with three of his five tackles pushing Pacific backwards for a loss. He sacked the QB twice, was credited with two more hurries, forced a fumble and even blocked a punt. He was selected as the SCIAC Defensive Player of the Week and went on to be included as one of the linebackers on the Team of the Week.


Freshman Ken Baierl knocked down a 22-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter of the win over Pacific, ending a nearly season and a half field goal drought. Before Baierl's kick sailed through the uprights, the Panthers' last made field goal was Oct. 21, 2017 in the first quarter at La Verne.


The Panthers forced five fumbles, recovering four, and grabbed an interception in the lopsided win over Pacific. With four recoveries, the Panthers have already equaled their highest season total in the last four years. They are one of just 10 teams in Division III to have a turnover margin of plus-four or better. 


Since reviving football in 1994, Chapman has never beaten an opponent ranked in the top-25. The Panthers are winless in 19 chances against ranked teams.


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 big win over Pacific to take a step toward the milestone.


The Pirates come into Chapman Stadium after entering the top-10 in this week's poll. Whitworth is also coming off the 2018 NWC title and an NCAA Second Round appearance. The 10th-ranked and defending NWC champion Pirates are making their second trip to southern California this month after cruising to a 50-24 win at La Verne two weeks ago. They racked up 544 yards of offense and limited the Leopards to just 289 yards. Senior Leif Ericksen leads the offense in his second season as the starting QB. Senior Kale Wong leads the defense after an All-Region season in 2018.