Football falls at Linfield in 2016 opener

Ethan Weinstein (photo by Larry Newman)
Ethan Weinstein (photo by Larry Newman)

MCMINNVILLE, Ore. – The Chapman University football team suffered a 48-14 loss at Linfield in the opening game of 2016 on Saturday. Newcomer Jacob Isabel showed his explosiveness early on and senior Ethan Weinstein had over 100 receiving yards.

After Linfield missed an early field goal, the teams traded punts. In his first game as a Panther, Isabel fielded the Wildcats' punt at his own three yard line and took it back 97 yards for the game's first score and the longest punt return in Panther history.

Linfield wasted no time in tying the game after the punt return with a 68-yard drive that took just over two minutes off the clock. Sam Riddle didn't stop there as he marched the Wildcats down the field for touchdowns on three consecutive drives to quickly put the hosts up 20-7.Riddle tossed five TDs on 30-for-38 passing for 391 yards.

The Panthers made it a one score game again after senior Miles Ahles intercepted Riddle at Chapman's 21-yard line and returned it back to the 29. In his debut, junior Ricky Bautista led Chapman down the field. He found Isabel for a 43-yard pass to fuel the drive and later found Weinstein in the end zone for a 15-yard TD with 7:42 left.

The Linfield offense overcame the hiccup and continued to roll in the second quarter, scoring twice more for a 34-14 halftime lead. The Wildcats scored 27 of their 48 points in the second stanza.

Chapman was held out of the end zone in the second half while Linfield padded its leads with two scores in the third. Mac Vail and Weinstein fueled a late 88-yard drive that came up just a yard short of the end zone. Vail found Weinstein on back-to-back deep passes of 29 and 34 yards to get the Panthers in the red zone. The drive stalled on the goal line when the Wildcats came up with a stop on 4th-and-goal from the two.

Bautista completed 8-of-14 passes in his debut for 112 yards with a TD and an interception. Vail was 6-of-11 for 69 yards. Weinstein hauled in seven passes in his first game as a receiver for 101 yards while Isabel had 50 yards on a pair of catches to go along with his punt return.

The Wildcats outgained the Panthers 571-280 while Chapman did itself no favors with 11 penalties that cost 100 yards.

The Panthers are off next week but take on Trinity on Sep. 24 in their home-opener at 7 p.m. at Ernie Chapman Stadium.