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Chapman Backs Up All Its Talk With Victory : College football: Panthers move confidently down the field to hand Cal Lutheran a 27-7 loss.


THOUSAND OAKS — Chapman's 27-7 victory over Cal Lutheran on Saturday can be explained in large part by one simple fact, supplied by Chapman defensive end Robert Ernster.

"They couldn't backpedal as fast as we could run forward," said Ernster, who spent much of the game running around the Cal Lutheran backfield.

Ernster sacked quarterback Ryan Huisenga 2 1/2 times, made three other tackles for losses, knocked down a pass and recovered a fumble.

"I had fun watching him the whole game," said Chapman's Efriam Miranda, who plays next to Ernster on the line and had 1 1/2 sacks.

It was a fun day all around for the Panthers (6-2-1), who completed their first football season since 1932 with a convincing victory in front of 2,000 at Cal Lutheran's Mt. Clef Field.

Although the Panthers started slow on offense--scoreless for the first 26 minutes--they pounced quickly when given the opportunity.

With 5 minutes 34 seconds left in the first half, Oscar Ford seemed to have drawn first blood, returning a punt 64 yards for a touchdown, but it was nullified because of an illegal block.

The Panthers struck again in short order when Curtis Robinson completed a 45-yard pass to Terrance Green, moving the ball down to the seven-yard line. Two plays later, Juan Garcia scored on a three-yard run for a 7-0 lead with 3:21 left.

After three Cal Lutheran plays netted minus four yards, Ford returned a punt 33 yards to the 22. Robinson gained 20 yards on a keeper, and Aaron Meschuk scored from two yards.

Chapman scored on the first possession of the second half. Todd Stock returned the kickoff 29 yards to the Chapman 45 and took it the rest of the way with seven rushing plays. Meschuk gained two yards, Garcia gained four, Darnell Morgan eight, Ford 28 and Robinson 13, including the five-yard touchdown.

Simple as that, Chapman had a 21-0 lead, and although 12:13 remained in the third quarter it seemed quite safe, considering how the Panthers' defense was playing.

Cal Lutheran (4-5) got some early breaks--the Kingsmen recovered a fumble by Ford on Chapman's first possession of the game and blocked Mario Acosta's punt on the Panthers' second--but kept running into a wall.

Terrence Thomas, one of the Kingsmen's best offensive weapons, was well contained. Thomas, a 5-foot-9, 200-pound senior with breakaway speed, was held to 102 yards--40 short of his average--in 29 carries.

He was often hit behind the line of scrimmage and was stopped for losses totaling 17 yards.

"I don't know if their offensive line came to play," Miranda said, "but that running back sure did. He just didn't have any help."

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