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Kingsmen Reach End of the Line : College football: Cal Lutheran again victimized by offensive front in 27-7 season-ending loss to Chapman.


THOUSAND OAKS — The Cal Lutheran football team's inability to block won't cost it another game this season.

But only because the season is over.

Cal Lutheran offensive linemen were badly beaten on Saturday, and, as a result, so was the team. The Kingsmen lost, 27-7, to Chapman in a nonconference game at Mt. Clef Stadium.

"Their defensive line was just too quick for our offensive line," said Cal Lutheran tailback Terrence Thomas. "That was it. They just outplayed us."

Thomas, a senior, still gained 102 yards, his seventh 100-yard game of the season. Thomas finished with 1,236 yards, a school single-season record. "It was OK for what I had up front on the line," Thomas said of his season. "I could have had more."

Chapman defensive lineman Efriam Miranda agreed.

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

The offensive line was a problem in most of Cal Lutheran's losses to physical teams, specifically La Verne and Occidental--the top teams in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference--and Chapman, which has applied to enter the SCIAC next year. The Kingsmen finished 4-5.

"We were just out-horsed on the front, not size-wise, but quickness-wise," Cal Lutheran Coach Joe Harper said. "We were able to move the ball in little spurts, but then we would run into something we couldn't handle."

Cal Lutheran's 265 yards of offense is misleading. Besides the team's lone score--a 34-yard pass from Ryan Huisenga to B.J. Bringgold in the third quarter--Cal Lutheran moved the ball inside the Chapman 40 only twice.

The bright spot for Cal Lutheran, as it has been all season, was the defense. Chapman (6-2-1) came into the game averaging 409 yards and 39.1 points, but the Kingsmen held the Panthers to 313 yards. Even the 27 points were mostly because of isolated breakdowns on offense or special teams.

Chapman's first touchdown, a three-yard run by Juan Garcia, didn't come until 3 minutes 21 seconds remained in the first half, and was keyed by a 45-yard pass from Curtis Robinson to Terrence Green on a third-and-seven play.

Chapman's next score, a two-yard run by Aaron Meschuck minutes later, was set up by a 33-yard punt return that gave the Panthers the ball at the Kingsmen 22.

Only three of the Panthers' 15 drives covered more than 40 yards.

"(The defense) did a great job," said Huisenga, who completed 12 of 32 passes for 160 yards. "I feel kind of disappointed because (the offense) let them down. We didn't hold up our end of the bargain."

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