Hometown Report

November 5, 2013

Hometown Report: CBS grad Lahey having a big time at little Chapman

Michael Lahey's highlights don't appear on ESPN.

Michael Lahey's highlights don't appear on ESPN.

His name isn't mentioned among Heisman Trophy hopefuls.

And Mel Kiper Jr. isn't going to break down his three-step drop and zone reads on the eve of the NFL draft.

None of this matters to Lahey. Life is too good. He revels in his experiences at quarterback in relative obscurity at Chapman, directing a 6-1 team toward the NCAA Division III playoffs.

"It couldn't get any better," said the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Christian Brothers graduate, in the midst of a record-breaking season. "Definitely no regrets. We're playing great. I'm having fun. We have a great school and atmosphere."

Oh, and the perks of living in Orange County, where no one has to scrape ice off his windshield and there's no shortage of entertainment options.

"We're talking 10 minutes away from Disneyland, 15 minutes from Newport Beach, and it's always nice here," said Lahey, a business economics major. "Can't beat it."

While at Christian Brothers, Lahey led the Falcons past rival Jesuit in a spirited Holy Bowl and kept dreaming big. A scholarship to a Pacific-12 Conference school. National TV air time. Then reality hit like a forearm to the chin strap.

Discovering that less than 1 percent of prep football players receive a scholarship, Lahey settled on Chapman, a small private school that celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011. Members of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, the non-scholarship Panthers compete against programs that are also off the ESPN mainstream but enormous in stature otherwise.

"We play night games here, packed with something like 5,500 people, and everyone loves it," Lahey said. "It's still college football, and it's still special."

Operating Chapman's no-huddle, spread offense that features a lot of play action, Lahey is poised to obliterate the school season passing mark for completion percentage. He has completed 72.7 percent of his passes for 1,500 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Lahey had his finest outing Saturday, completing 23 of 32 passes for 364 yards and three touchdowns to help beat La Verne 45-7. This from an athlete who first had to clear hurdles upon his arrival at Chapman.

Lahey was eighth on the depth chart when he showed up in 2010. He won the job in the spring of 2012 but blew out his knee in a non-contact drill three days into camp.

"Literally, no contact," Lahey said. "I was scrambling, made a cut, and my right knee buckled. It was devastating."

Lahey said the knee is sound now.

"When I went into camp, I wasn't sure if it'd hold up, but the knee's been great," Lahey said. "I don't even think about it. I'm just enjoying this season."

Around the region

Freshman Tanner Vallejo (Nevada Union) led Boise State with 11 tackles in a 42-30 win over Colorado State.

Sophomore defensive lineman Robert Ash (Cosumnes Oaks) had his best outing for Boise State, applying continuous pressure on the Colorado State quarterback.

State No. 3 American River College lost to Modesto 43-42 on Saturday night in a Valley Conference stunner that the Beavers hope won't derail their state championship bowl hopes.

Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.

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