ORANGE, Calif. — The University of La Verne football team outgained D3football.com No. 24 Chapman, 376 yards to 320, but the Panthers were just a bit more efficient in their possessions as it handed the Leopards a 28-13 defeat on Saturday night at Ernie Chapman Stadium.
How it happened: La Verne made it a one-possession game at 21-13 after Jonathan Lilly hauled in a 22-yard pass from Justin Gomez to cap off an 11-play, 88-yard drive. But the Leopards could not recover the ensuing onside kick and the Panthers responded with a trick play that saw their quarterback Michael Lahey come up with a 32-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Sean Myers to seal the game.
The Leopards held Division III's 20th ranked offense scoreless in the first quarter and took a 3-0 lead into the second quarter on August Buoncuore's 26-yard field goal. But Chapman put together a pair of 75-yard touchdown drives in the second quarter to put the Leopards in a hole.
La Verne forced Chapman into a three-and-out in the Panthers' first possession in the second half and drove up the field to the Chapman 20 keyed by a fake punt on a 4th-and-2 at its own 39-yard line. But a holding penalty stunted La Verne's momentum and the Leopards settled for a 35-yard field goal by Buoncuore.
Chapman then put together a 69-yard scoring drive to keep the Leopards at an arm's length.
Missed opportunity: The Leopards had a chance to immediately answer Champan's touchdown and give themselves more time to make a comeback, but lost a crucial fumble midway through the fourth quarter on Chapman's side of the field.
Players of the game: Buoncoure has quietly been solid as La Verne's placekicker and is now 6-of-7 on the year in field goal attempts and perfect 22-for-22 in extra point attempts.
Justin Gomez got the start in place of injured William Livingston and gave the Leopards a chance to win. The senior threw for 226 yards and a touchdown while not committing any turnovers.
Lilly bounced back after a tough game against Redlands and finished with seven catches for 111 yards and a touchdown.
Carvante Hill led the defense with six tackles and an interception early in the first quarter.
Stat of the game: Chapman went into the game ranked ninth nationally in rushing offense (277.7 yards per game) and 20th in total offense (488.8 yards per game), but the La Verne defense held them to just 320 yards in its finest performance of the season so far.
Up next: La Verne returns to action next Saturday at 1 p.m. when it hosts Pomona-Pitzer for the final home game of the season.Follow La Verne Athletics on Twitter @ULV_Athletics Like La Verne Athletics on Facebook Follow La Verne Athletics on Instagram @ULV_Athletics Sign up for our newsletter