Record-breaking Slippery Rock kicker Jake Chapla ready for next opportunity - Plum

Record-breaking Slippery Rock kicker Jake Chapla ready for next opportunity

Trib logo Greg Macafee

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 | 8:00 AM


Over the past four years, Jake Chapla made quite a name for himself at Slippery Rock.

The Plum graduate became the PSAC’s all-time leader for points by a kicker and also broke The Rock’s career records for field goals and extra points.

“Just reflecting back on that, I really accomplished a lot while I was there,” Chapla said. “We’ll see how long those stay in the record books because records are made to be broken.”

Chapla also punted for Slippery Rock, which went undefeated in the regular season last fall en route to the PSAC championship and advanced to the NCAA Division II semifinals.

He is hoping to play in the pros, and Rock coach Shawn Lutz is surprised teams haven’t pursued Chapla.

“He made so many pressure kicks for us over the years, and he’s a guy, I know kickers is a hard one, but I thought he would get a shot,” Lutz said. “So maybe there still could be something out there for him. I mean he was a four-year starter and handled the kicking and the punting duties. It says a lot about him.”

Chapla graduated with an accounting degree and is looking to the next chapter of his career, but that doesn’t mean he’s leaving football behind.

“I’m just searching for jobs,” he said. “You have to take that next step into reality, but if that opportunity arises, I’ll be ready.”

In four years, Chapla forced 82 touchbacks, made 51 field goals and 237 extra points and pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line on 36 punts. And Lutz said he wished he could have used Chapla more.

“He was kicking seven to eight extra points a game and all those kickoffs, as well,” Lutz said. “But I was trying to find him opportunities to kick field goals now and then. We were so good offensively. I mean, we were 11 for 14 on fourth downs, so we went for it a lot because we wanted to turn those into touchdowns.”

Slippery Rock had one of the highest-scoring offenses in D-II this past season. They averaged more than 46 points and 500 yards of offense per game. So Chapla never was bored.

“It was nice to have that because it gave me more opportunities to get out on the field, which was what I wanted,” Chapla said. “But jeez, there were times when we were kicking the ball so many times, and I was tired by halftime because (quarterback) Roland (Rivers) was putting up 42 points in the first half. But it was very nice to do all three.”

Chapla didn’t expect his career to turn out the way it did. As a freshman, he made 11 of 17 field goals and converted a career-long field goal of 51 yards against Mercyhurst.

That success continued into his sophomore year, when he increased his point total to 86 from 72 his freshman year. That was when he saw .

“I realized that I had the opportunity to break a lot of those records,” Chapla said. “I had 22 field goals, and the record was 35, and I had two years left, and I was halfway to the scoring title, too. So after my sophomore year, those things kind of came into perspective. So I just kind of made them my career goals.”

When the Slippery Rock offense took off in 2018, so did Chapla’s point totals. He finished with 117 points his junior season and also made 17 field goals. Then, this past year, Chapla only made 12 field goals but converted 79 extra points to solidify his spot in the record books.

“It was probably more than what I imagined,” Chapla said. “When I look back on it and talk to family and relatives and close friends, I feel like I’ve gone down as one of the best kickers in Slippery Rock history, if not the best, and one of the best in the PSAC, too.”