ORANGE, Calif. – Senior Ricky Bautista threw for 388 yards and led the Chapman University football team to a 45-24 win over visiting Redlands on Saturday. With the win, the Panthers (3-2, 3-0 SCIAC) emerge as the only remaining unbeaten team in SCIAC play.
The Panthers offense remained explosive against a Redlands defense that had proved to be as stingy as any in the SCIAC through the first half of the year. Chapman again used a fast start to build an early lead and never allowed Redlands (3-2, 2-1 SCIAC) back in the game.
Bautista was 21-of-29 for 388 yards and four touchdowns. He hooked up with senior Jacob Isabel 11 times for 189 yards. He made junior Dominic Vaccher into another deep threat for the Panthers, hitting him three times for 128 yards. Four of Bautista's 21 completions went for at least 30 yards and he had the Panthers up 14-3 at the end of the first quarter and 28-6 at the end of the first half.
The Panthers' amassed 618 yards on offense, breaking the 600-yard mark for the second game in a row. At halftime, the Panthers had outgained the Bulldogs 368-167 and went on to hold a 618-458 advantage in total offense.
Chapman found the end zone on four of its first five drives to blow the game open early. Bautista capped the initial five-play, 69-yard drive with a one yard sneak into the end zone. After forcing a Redlands punt, the Panthers went 80 yards in five plays to go up 14-0. The last play covered 69 yards when Bautista found Isabel for his first of three touchdowns on the day.
Redlands was able to get on the board with back-to-back field goals sandwiching a Panthers' punt but Chapman put two impressive drives together in the second quarter to make the lead 28-6 at halftime. The Panthers used five and a half minutes off the clock to go 75 yards in 10 plays – the last of which was a 29-yard pass from Bautista to Isabel.
After forcing a three-and-out, Redlands punter Nathan Hierlihy pinned Chapman on its own one-yard line. Chapman responded with a 10-play, 99-yard trip to the end zone. A pair of rush plays narrowly avoided a Redlands safety and set up third-and-10. Bautista took a shot down the field and hit Vaccher for 44 yards down the near sideline. The Panthers continued chipping their way down the field until Bautista found Trevor Vill inside the five and he dove into the end zone for a TD just before halftime.
Redlands looked to be mounting a comeback in the third as Kyle Kabeary pulled in a seven yard pass from Levi Plante to make it 28-13. The Redlands defense then came up big as the Bulldogs forced a fumble inside the Chapman 30 yard line on the first play of the next drive and jumped on the loose ball to set themselves up with prime field position.
The Panthers' defense responded in a big way. Junior Daveed Carter dragged down Plante in the backfield for an eight yard loss on first down. The defense held to force a 48-yard field goal try, which landed well short and avoided a quick momentum turn.
Senior Lucas Alfonso capped Chapman's next drive with a 33-yard field goal to make it 31-13. The Bulldogs scored again at the end of the third quarter but junior Marcellus Hunter leaped into the end zone from one yard out to start the fourth quarter and Isabel hauled in a third touchdown catch later in the fourth to push the lead to 45-19.
Senior Joe Mudie continued to rack up the yards on the ground, taking the ball 22 times for 126 yards. Hunter had 14 carries for 89 yards. Sophomore Ramon Chaves led the Panther defense with eight tackles while freshman Dillon Keefe had seven. Junior Andrew Dieken caught the Bulldogs behind the line of scrimmage three times, including a sack, and forced a fumble.
The Panthers return to the road next week to take on La Verne but return home on Oct. 28 to face Cal Lutheran at 7 p.m.