Whittier College football coach Greg Carlson wants to win badly. So at 2-3, the Poets aren’t where he wants them to be. However, two of Whittier’s losses were by a total of 14 points to the two best teams in SCIAC. The Poets lost 28-20 to Occidental College on Oct. 1. The Tigers were ranked No. 8 nationally in the Division III poll, and are now ranked sixth. Then last week, Whittier trailed 17-0 at University of Redlands before falling 26-20 in overtime. Redlands has won 26 SCIAC football championships. It is currently tied atop the SCIAC standings with Occidental at 2-0. “I think we, as a staff, feel like we are making significant gains in rebuilding this program,” said Carlson, whose team plays a nonconference game tonight at Chapman University. Kickoff is 7 p.m. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Whittier is 2-3 overall, 0-3 in conference. Chapman, an independent, is 1-4. “We have gone through five football games, and we have not been blown out by anybody,” Carlson said. “We played two fine football teams and literally had a chance to win both games in the last two, three minutes. “Now, we need to get into a situation where we win some of those close games.” Carlson is indeed upbeat, even though his team will have to wait another year before again trying to compete for the conference championship. He points out, however, that he started a combined 15 freshmen and sophomores against Occidental and Redlands. This bodes well for the future. “We are still excited,” Carlson said. “We feel we are on the right path. We are establishing some consistency. We were down 17-0 at Redlands and came back to tie the game. “Hopefully, these are all valuable field lessons we are learning that will make us a better program down the road.” Leading the way on offense for Whittier tonight will be quarterback Josh Scurlock. The sophomore from Bakersfield has completed 78 of 155 passes for 926 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions. Scurlock also leads the team in rushing, with 360 yards and three touchdowns on 70 carries (5.1 yards per carry). Scurlock’s leading receiver has been Alex Jones, who plays both running back and receiver out of the Poets’ spread offense. Jones has caught 28 passes for 354 yards and two touchdowns. Complementing him is Albert Williams, who has 19 receptions for 211 yards and one touchdown. Trying to stop Chapman’s running game will be freshman linebacker Jared Izidoro, Whittier’s leading tackler with 50. Junior defensive back Chasen Eddow has 27 tackles and five pass deflections. “Chapman, the two years I’ve been here, has been a physical football team and kind of beaten us up at the line of scrimmage,” said Carlson, in his third season. “Now, hopefully, we can stand toe-to-toe with them on the offensive and defensive lines. They have a fine running game.” Chase Twedell leads Chapman with 508 yards rushing with two touchdowns on 86 carries (5.9 yards per carry). Robert Morales can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2213, or by e-mail at robert.morales 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!