A fast start by Chapman University proved too much to overcome for the University of La Verne as the Panthers scored the first 17 points, held off a potential Leopard rally and controlled much of the second half in a 38-12 win for the home team Saturday night at Chapman Stadium in Orange.
La Verne (3-4, 3-2 SCIAC) faced a potent offensive attack from Chapman, who amassed 627 yards against the Leopards in the first-ever SCIAC meeting between the longtime non-conference rivals. The Chapman ground game produced 453 rushing yards against the Leopards which included three touchdowns of 75 or more yards.
A pair of big scoring runs from quarterback Kean Stancil of 79 and 88 yards helped the Panthers pull away in the second half.
In the early going, Chapman took the opening kickoff and marched 77 yards on six plays for the first score as Robin Harris finished off the drive with a 40 yard scoring pass from Stancil to take a 7-0 advantage in just 1:35 elapsed.
The Panthers (5-2, 4-1) added a field goal late in the first quarter and would strike on their next possession when Harris scored on a 75 yard run for a 17-0 Panther advantage at 13:55 of the second quarter.
Nearly five minutes later, La Verne would break through as it answered the quick Panther score by completing a methodical 12-play, 78-yard drive that took 5:12 off the clock. The drive was capped by a 11 yard touchdown run from Matthew Biggers to trim the deficit to 17-6. Biggers was the primary weapon in the scoring drive with five carries for 34 yards.
Early in the third quarter, the Leopards put together another scoring drive, this time consisting of six plays covering 72 yards. After a pair of rushes from Biggers along with a Chapman personal foul, Travis Carter connected with Robert Fernandez for a 35 yard score to narrow the margin to 17-12. The Leopard two-point conversion failed to leave the deficit at five points.
Signs of a Leopard comeback were subdued on the ensuing drive, when on the next play from scrimmage, Stancil outran the Leopard defenders for a 79 yard score to push the Panther lead to 24-12 with 11:55 left in the third.
La Verne countered by driving 47 yards on 12 plays. The Leos eventually reached the Panther five-yard line, but a short field goal attempt was blocked to end the scoring opportunity.
Stancil struck again for the Panthers late in the third quarter when he rushed 88 yards to the end zone to push the Chapman lead to 31-12.
After the Panthers ended a long Leopard drive with an interception, they would seal the contest with a 14-play, 80-yard march elapsing 5:11 off the clock. Al White closed the drive - and the scoring - with a three-yard rushing score with 4:11 left to play.
La Verne posted four more first downs (27-23) and held the edge in time of possession (33:55 - 26:05) and produced 467 total yards on offense but couldn't escape the turnover bug as it fell victim to three interceptions along with a pair of fumbles lost.
Stancil concluded his evening with 400 yards of total offense with 248 on the ground and 152 through the air. The Leopards held SCIAC leading rusher Jeremiah McKibbons to 24 yards on 10 carries.
Biggers continued his strong season for the Leopards with 139 yards on 26 carries. Carter completed 24 of 35 passes for 248 yards and a touchdown. Fernandez led all receivers with 111 yards on eight catches.
La Verne continues on the road next week to face defending SCIAC champ Cal Lutheran for a 7:00 pm kickoff next Saturday in Thousand Oaks.