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Chapman edges Leopards, leaves football 2-5

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by Heather Baxter
Assistant Sports Editor

After trailing the Chapman Panthers for the majority of the game, the University of La Verne Leopards were poised to tie the score with only minutes left in the fourth quarter. But, a failed extra-point attempt by Flynn Turner left the Leopards one point short and all out of steam.

Following the win over Cal Lutheran last week, the La Verne football team traveled to Chapman University on Saturday, determined to dominate and improve on its 2-4 record. With a 27-26 loss, the Leopards did not accomplish their goal and instead saw themselves outrushed and outplayed.

The Leopards put the first points on the board after Turner completed a 38-yard field goal early in the first quarter, leaving the score 3-0. With only a minute left in the first quarter though, Panther quarterback Todd McLean threw a 54-yard pass to wide receiver Bobby Calderon for the first of Chapman’s four touchdowns. Matthew Oeter kicked the extra point to give the Panthers a 7-3 lead.

The Panthers scored a touchdown in each subsequent quarter. In the second quarter, running back Phil Cruz completed a 60-yard run for the Panthers’ second touchdown. Their third came on a 3-yard run from McLean.

Although the Leopards answered with a touchdown on wide receiver Josh Long’s 4-yard run in the second quarter, they came up empty in the third. With 6:40 left in the third quarter, the Leopards trailed 20-10.

Chapman continued its scoring streak in the fourth quarter when McLean threw another 54-yard pass to Calderon. With the score now 27-10 and 14:49 left in the game, the Leopards faced a daunting deficit.

The Leopards were determined to catch up, and nearly succeeded, scoring two touchdowns and a field goal in just over 10 minutes. Wide receiver David Black caught a 12-yard pass from Leopard quarterback Aaron Becker for the first touchdown, and Long took-in 39-yard pass from Becker for the second. Along with a successful field goal attempt by Turner, the score was 27-26, and although it was in the Panther’s favor, the Leopards still had their extra-point attempt and 5:01 left.

Turner, who had already successfully completed two field goals and two extra point kicks, could not convert this final point. Turner, who was playing injured after twisting his ankle earlier in the game, missed the field goal. With only five minutes left in the game, the Leopards failed to score the point needed to force the game into overtime.

Although La Verne had control of the ball longer than the Panthers throughout the game, it was consistently outrushed, 174 to 135. Despite La Verne outpassing and outreceiving Chapman, the game went to the Panthers in the final minutes.

“I think we gave up a lot of big play on defense,” said linebacker Jasen Davis. “A lot of coverage assignments got blown that shouldn’t have. That’s why they scored so many points.

“As far as offense, [Chapman] was just up one on what we were doing.”

“The kick was good,” said Davis. “[Turner] can usually kick from that range, from any range. He was just hurt.”

Defensive lineman Geoffrey Gillison feels although they lost, the team had some accomplishments during the game.

“We accomplished a lot of things in the game, defensive wise,” said Gillison. “Offensive, we picked it up in the fourth quarter.”

“As far as the kick, [Tucker] is a very good kicker. He just missed one kick, but what do you expect? He has a hurt ankle, so who can blame him?”

The Leopards will play host to Menlo tomorrow at 1 p.m. where they face the No. 1 quarterback-receiver tandem in the nation.

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