When entering the thick of conference play, rarely has another team been a tougher test for the Stags than the Panthers. In a high-scoring battle last year, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps football barely scraped by Chapman, 42-34. But this season is a different story.
With the sun shining down on Burns Stadium Saturday, CMS defeated Chapman 28-6. The victory extended their win streak to three games and maintained their undefeated record in SCIAC play (2-0).
The Stags defense got all they could handle from Chapman in the initial stages of the game. Holding possession for the entirety of the first quarter, the Panthers converted a number of short third downs to move their way downfield.
However, the CMS defense proved to be up to the task. After a sack by Joey Asta CM ’24 that left the Panthers with a long fourth down try, Chapman quarterback Jack Alexander threw a pass out of shotgun formation that was intercepted by cornerback Kirby Baynes CM ’25. With 70 yards of green grass in front of him, Baynes ran his third interception into the end zone for the first score of the game.
The second Chapman possession was just as long, and despite repeated pressure from the CMS defensive line, the Panthers managed to cut the deficit with a field goal, making the score 7-3.
A couple 3-and-outs by the CMS offense in the second quarter allowed Chapman to continue dominating possession time. Forced to stay on the field for nearly the entire game to this point, this saw the CMS defense make their first mistake of the day, allowing a pass deep into their territory be completed for a big gain.
But just as they had previously, CMS’ red zone defense would not allow the Panthers to find the end zone. Nevertheless, Chapman continued to apply pressure with another field goal, cutting the Stags’ lead to just one point.
Near the end of the second quarter, the Stag offense finally found some momentum. After a couple quick throws by Walter Kuhlenkamp CM ’24, the Stags entered Chapman territory for the first time. On a quick pitch to the outside, running back Brian Loudermilk CM ’23 made a couple Panthers miss and sprinted into the end zone. The 30-yard touchdown extended the CMS lead to eight points heading into halftime.
Coming out of the break, Chapman was ready to play. With the Stags unable to find a rhythm, the Panthers drove deep into opposing territory halfway through the third quarter. Still, the Claremont red zone defense locked Chapman down, with defensive back Michael Colangelo CM ’23 forcing a fumble on the goal line. The Panthers’ second turnover of the day was the spark CMS needed on both sides of the ball to dominate the Panthers for the rest of the game.
Though not on the field due to an ACL injury, linebacker Ryan Enney CM ’25 noticed a resurgence in his team’s energy defensively.
“Everyone on the defense was making plays,” Enney said. “It was a joy to watch, and it’s all because of Coach Sanders’ game plan. Great job by him to get the team prepared.”
In the fourth quarter, with the Stags pushed back near their own end zone, Justin Edwards CM ’25 showed why he is considered one of the best Division III running backs with a 47-yard run to midfield. Edwards would go on to finish the drive with a 5-yard run for a touchdown. This was Edwards’ second touchdown of the game and sixth of the season through just five games. Edwards had 146 yards rushing on the day against the Panthers, which surpassed his game average of 113.
The third Chapman turnover of the day, a long throw by Alexander intercepted at the goal line, sealed the victory for the Stags. Their explosive defense and powerful running game with Loudermilk and Edwards overwhelmed the Panthers as the game progressed. With his defense making plays and the Stags running game unstoppable, Kuhlenkamp was all smiles after the game.
“It was a great team win,” Kuhlenkamp said. “The defense dominated from the first whistle to the last, and the offense controlled the line of scrimmage. I want to give a lot of credit to the big guys up front, we love 99-yard drives on the ground. We coached well, we played for each other and we walked away with another win. Great momentum for the following week.”
On Saturday, the Stags will host Cal Lutheran, which is coming off a loss to Redlands. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. as the Stags look to improve their record to 5-1 and remain unbeaten in the SCIAC.