Football topples No. 10 Whitworth

Zach Shorts sprints away from a defender.
Zach Shorts (photo by Larry Newman)

ORANGE, Calif. – For the first time in program history, the Chapman University football team took down a ranked team. The Panthers (2-0) defended their home stadium and defeated No. 10 Whitworth 37-30.

A 21-point second quarter swung the momentum in Chapman's favor and the Panthers held on to the lead the rest of the way in a complete team effort. The Panthers stayed with their two quarterback system, four different players had at least eight rushes, five receivers caught a pass, five players had at least half a sack, the special teams blocked a punt and booted a record-breaking punt in a crucial situation.

Offensively, junior quarterback Jonston MacIntyre scored two go-ahead touchdowns. He ran the ball a team-leading 14 times for 75 yards – often scrambling for big gains – and completed three passes for 50 yards. Sophomore Reed Vettel  was 12-for-21 for 160 yards and threw a TD pass to junior Caleb Henshaw for the Panthers first score.

Defensively, junior Dillon Keefe had six tackles (two for a loss), broke up four passes against Whitworth's air raid offense and had two QB hurries. Freshman Blake Siemsen led the team with eight tackles and senior Noah Kjos had three of Chapman's five sacks.

Whitworth threw the ball 67 times for 383 yards to 10 different receivers and scored four touchdowns. The Pirates ran the ball 20 times but mustered just 31 yards on the ground. The Panthers outgained the Pirates 440-414 but were more balanced in running for 230 yards and throwing for 210.

Whitworth scored first after the teams traded punts but Chapman responded two drives later. Vettel hit sophomore Zach Shorts for a 49-yard pass to move Chapman into the red zone for the first time. Two plays later Henshaw leapt to catch a fade in the end zone for the eight-yard score.

Still trailing 7-6 after a missed PAT, neither team could put together a significant drive. On the first play of the second quarter, Chapman's punt was dropped by Whitworth's return man and bounced directly into the waiting arms of sophomore Duncan Heger. The Panthers took full advantage when MacIntyre turned a broken play into a touchdown. He scrambled from left to right and found an opening to take it in 14 yards for the score and a 13-7 lead.

With the score tied 13-13, the Panthers found themselves with another short field junior Jalen Dural blocked a punt and set the Panthers up with first-and-goal. MacIntyre found the end zone again on third down, covering all eight yards, to make it 30-13 with just over five minutes left in the half.

Another three-and-out for the defense gave the Panthers the ball back with enough time for another touchdown drive. Eight plays and 70 yards later, freshman Isaiah Woods flipped into the end zone for a six-yard score and a 27-13 lead that Chapman took into the locker room.

The teams traded scores late in the third with Leif Ericksen finding Taylor Kolste for a 12-yard TD pass. Sophomore Tanner Mendoza responded six plays later for the Panthers with a 34-yard TD sprint.

The defense held tight to the 14-point lead, stopping a Pirate drive in the red zone for a field goal. The offense went three-and-out but freshman Ken Baierl unleashed a high, 73-yard punt that went from Chapman's 15 to be downed on Whitworth's 12. Whitworth lost a yard over the next three plays and Chapman responded with a 12-play, 47-yard drive and put three more points on the board.

Junior Chris Tsirtsis ended Whitworth's next drive with a jump ball interception. After Chapman was forced to punt, Whitworth scored for the final time with 1:09 left. The ensuing onside kick was smothered by senior Ricky Medeiros to secure the victory.

Chapman improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2013 and beat a ranked team for the first time since reviving the program in 1994. The Panther defense has allowed just 41 yards rushing over it s first two games and has had five sacks in each game.

After another week off next week, the Panthers jump into SCIAC play with a Homecoming matchup against Whittier on Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.

By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director

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