Eight Panthers earn All-SCIAC recognition

Eight Panthers earn All-SCIAC recognition

ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University football team had eight players earn nine All-SCIAC selections following another above .500 season for the Panthers. Five Panthers were selected to the First Team while three players earned four selections to the Second Team.

Of the Panthers nine total selections, three came on special teams. Freshman punter Elias Deeb and junior kicker Lucas Alfonso each were honored on the First Team while junior returner and wide receiver Jacob Isabel received a Second Team nod. Senior linebacker Ben Wadors, senior offensive lineman Erik Gonzalez and junior defensive lineman Austin Pyka joined Alfonso and Deeb on the First Team.

 Isabel was honored on the Second Team as a returner and wide receiver with junior running back Joe Mudie and junior safety Chris Williams also earning Second Team honors.

Seven of the eight Panthers earned postseason honors for the first time in their respective careers. With its 2016 selections, Chapman has had at least one running back, defensive back, wide receiver, offensive lineman and defensive lineman receive All-SCIAC honors every year since joining the conference in 2012.

Alfonso sailed seven kicks in a row through the uprights this year to go 7-for-10 on field goal attempts this season. The Woodland Hills, Calif., native ranked second on the team in scoring with 43 points and was tops in the SCIAC with an average kickoff of 60.6 yards. He made 7-of-9 field goal tries in conference games and converted 19-of-23 extra point attempts in SCIAC games.

Deeb's punting average of 42 yards led the SCIAC this season to make him the first Chapman punter to receive All-SCIAC first team honors. His average went up to 44.1 yards per punt in SCIAC games. The Newport Beach, Calif., native booted a record-breaking 72-yard punt against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and landed 10 of his 33 punts inside the 20 with nine fair catches. Opponents averaged just 7.6 yards per punt return against Panthers this year.

Gonzalez's first All-SCIAC selection comes in his senior season. The Panthers left guard was selected as a team captain prior to the season and helped clear the way for a 100-yard rusher in three games this year as well as protecting for a record-breaking day through the air in the season finale.

Pyka led all of Chapman's defensive lineman with 33 tackles this season, including 5.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. The junior from Anaheim Hills, Calif., had a season-high of seven tackles in the Panther 19-17 win over Trinity. He had six or more tackles in three games this season.

Wadors was a near constant in the backfield from his outside linebacker position. The senior from San Jose, Calif., ranked second in the SCIAC with six sacks and fourth in the conference with 10.5 tackles for loss. The only repeat selection for the Panthers this season earned All-SCIAC honors as a defensive end after his freshman season in 2012. He also knocked down two passes this season and forced a fumble. His 41 total tackles this year were a career-high and gave him 115 tackles for his career.

On the Second Team, Isabel proved to be one of the most dynamic players on the field this season, which was reflected in his dual selection as a returner and a receiver. He ranked 32nd in Division III and third in the conference with 147.6 all-purpose yards per game. He broke the Chapman record with a 97-yard punt return for a touchdown in his first game as a Panther against Linfield. He also hauled 43 receptions for 733 yards and seven TDs this year.

Mudie ran for 580 yards this season on 131 rushes. He averaged 4.4 yards per rush and found the end zone once. Of his 580 yards on the ground, 530 came in SCIAC games. He was also the Panthers third leaving receiver with 22 catches for 246 yards.

Williams had his best season as a senior, leading the team with five pass breakups. He was one of four players with a pair of interceptions and ranked fourth on the squad with 43 tackles. He also blocked a kick, forced a fumble and had 1.5 tackles for loss.

by Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director

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