The Chapman Irish picked up their first win of the season on Homecoming night against Dickinson County rival Abilene. Chapman scored on their first three possessions of the second half to pull away for a 36-21 victory over the Cowboys. The Irish have now defeated Abilene in consecutive years for the first time since 2007. The last time it happened, Chapman defeated Abilene three straight times from 2005 to 2007.
The Irish scored on the opening possession of the game with a 10 play drive that took 6:48 off the clock. The series was capped on a 30 yard run by Senior, Jeremiah LaPlante to give Chapman a 6-0 lead with 4:41 to play in the first quarter. Abilene would have a quick answer with a Caleb Burt 66 yard touchdown drive on the Cowboy’s first play from scrimmage. Burt, a Junior, had just 4 yards on 10 carries as he entered the game but would go on to have a huge night. Kaleb Becker’s extra point game Abilene their only lead of the game at 7-6 with 4:24 to play in the first.
Chapman retook the lead on their ensuing possession, on the first play of the second quarter, to cap an 84 yard drive. Eli Riegel scored on a 5 yard touchdown run. It would be the first of three touchdowns for Riegel, who entered the night without a score. The touchdown by the Sophomore fullback gave the Irish a 12-7 lead with 11:57 to play in the half and that would remain the score into halftime.
Chapman took control of the game early in the 3rd quarter as they forced Abilene into a 3 and out and then promptly scored with a Riegel 58 yard run with 8:54 to play in the 3rd quarter. David Schoby would add the 2 point conversion to increase the Chapman lead to 20-7. The Cowboys would then get another big play from Burt. He dropped the ball on a pitch but got a fortunate bounce and ran it in from 54 yards out to pull Abilene back to within 20-13 with 8:33 left in the 3rd quarter. Senior, Austin Litzinger would give Chapman back the momentum with a 11 yard touchdown run. He add the 2 point conversion on a catch to make the score 28-13 with 3:52 to play in the 3rd quarter. Litzinger had two touchdowns called back in the first half because of penalties.
Riegel would then complete the hat trick with a 2 yard run on a 4th and 1 touchdown carry with 8:43 left in the game. Senior Quarterback, Trevor Erickson would run in the 2 point conversion to give Chapman a 36-13 advantage. Abilene got a spark late from back up Senior Quarterback Jayshaun Jones. He entered the game and connected on 5 of 7 passes, the last a 19 yard touchdown strike to Sophomore, Kaleb Becker. Keaton Hocker would add the 2 point conversion for the final points of the game.
The First National Bank of Hope Players of the Game were Erickson and Riegel for Chapman. Erickson ended the night with 125 on 19 carries unofficially and Riegel totaled 147 on 19 carries unoffically and 3 scores. Chapman’s ground attack was so dominant that they didn’t have to attempt a pass all night as the Irish totaled 401 yards rushing. Abilene was limited to 235 yards of offense but showed improvement as they entered the night with an average of 112 yards per game.
Abilene’s player of the game was Burt. He had a career night with 161 yards on 7 carries unofficially with 2 touchdowns.
Abilene fell to 0-3 with the loss and will host McPherson next Friday and Chapman improved to 1-2 and will host Clay Center. The Tigers fell to 1-2 with a 32-20 loss at home to Wamego, while the Bullpups improved to 3-0 with a 55-16 win over El Dorado in McPherson.