ORANGE, Calif. – Behind the running of sophomore QB Kean Stancil and an opportunistic defense that forced five turnovers, the Chapman University football team pulled away for a 38-12 SCIAC win over La Verne on Saturday night at Wilson Field on Senior Day. With the win, Chapman completed a perfect season at home for the first time since 1995 and secured its first winning season since 2008. Chapman is now tied for second place with Redlands in SCIAC, behind Cal Lutheran.
On Chapman's (5-2, 4-1) first drive of the game, Stancil connected with junior WR Robin Harris for a 40-yard touchdown strike over the middle to give Chapman a 7-0 lead at the 13:25 mark of the first quarter. Harris had 128 yards of total offense – 75 rushing, 53 receiving – in the game. On a Chapman drive that came to a halt, La Verne's Dane Turney blocked a Chapman punt only to fumble which then was recovered by Chapman senior LB Michael Mehlhaff at Chapman's 46 yard line. Chapman then turned the fumble into three points and a 10-0 lead at the 1:59 mark of the first quarter when senior K Mauricio Alfonso made a 20-yard field goal.
La Verne (3-4, 3-2) punted on its next drive and Chapman quickly got another score to go ahead 17-0 with 13:55 to go in the first half. On the first play of Chapman's drive, Harris scored his second touchdown of the day, this time a 75-yard rushing touchdown to extend the lead to 17 points.
In the second quarter, La Verne got its offense moving and put together a 12-play, 78-yard drive to narrow Chapman's lead to 17-6 which is what the score would be at halftime. La Verne QB Travis Carter completed all six of his pass attempts on the drive and RB Matthew Biggers ran five times for 34 yards to put La Verne in the end zone. Biggers capped off the drive with an 11-yard touchdown run. Carter completed 24-of-35 passes on the night for 248 yards, a touchdown and three picks, while Biggers ran for 139 yards on 26 carries.
The second half began with a La Verne touchdown on its first drive to narrow the score to 17-12 with 12:15 remaining in the third quarter after a failed two point conversion. A personal foul penalty on Chapman put La Verne on its 35-yard line, and on the next play, Carter hit WR Robert Fernandez for a 35-yard touchdown to get La Verne within five. Fernandez had a game-high eight catches for 111 yards.
Stancil then took the game over with his legs for Chapman. The sophomore QB had touchdown runs of 79 and 88 yards in the third quarter to give Chapman a 31-12 lead on his way to a Chapman QB record 248 yards on 11 carries which secured the win. Senior RB Al White added a touchdown in his final home game for Chapman in the fourth quarter at the 4:10 mark which capped off a game in which he had 59 yards rushing on 10 carries. As a team, Chapman ran for 453 yards on 42 carries and had 627 yards of total offense.
Chapman's defense forced several big turnovers on the night, particularly in the second half. La Verne had two drives inside Chapman's 30-yard line in the second half end with a turnover. One drive ended after senior DL Elliot Cooley forced a fumble that senior DB Cameron Cutter recovered inside Chapman's 10-yard line. The other came on a Cutter interception in the end zone, his second interception of the game and fourth in his last three games.
Senior LB Kellen Matsuno had a game-high 11 tackles for Chapman, while junior LB Wade Minshew had eight and Mehlhaff had seven. Senior DL Apollo Nestoras added an interception for Chapman. Sean Komendat had a team-high nine tackles and a forced fumble for La Verne.
Chapman now hits the road for its final two games of the season with games at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps followed by Cal Lutheran in the season finale.
by Chris Watts
Sports Information Assistant