CHAPMANVILLE — In the end it looks like the Chapmanville Regional High School football team will come up just short of making it to the Class AA playoffs.
The Tigers, which observe their bye week this Friday night, closed out the 2013 grid campaign last week with a 64-36 loss at Class A No. 1-ranked Wayne.
The loss concluded Chapmanville’s season at 5-5.
The Tigers, ranked No. 18 in the state in this week’s Class AA computer ratings, are not likely to break into the top 16, even with some bonus points.
Chapmanville with 5.60 ratings points, currently trails No. 17 Lincoln (5-4) with 6.06 points, No. 16 Ravenswood (5-4) with 6.44 points and No. 15 Philip Barbour (6-4) with 6.70 points.
Philip Barbour, which closed out its season last week, is projected to grab the No. 16 spot in the final rankings and play No. 1 Wayne or Bluefield in the first round of the playoffs. Wayne, ranked No. 2 this week, plays at this week’s No. 1, Bluefield, on Friday night in a 1 vs. 2 showdown.
Chapmanville, however, is not out of it yet.
The Tigers have a slim chance at nudging into the No. 16 spot but CRHS will have to get a lot of help with bonus points and scenarios that have to go their way.
All in all, if the football Gods are not shining down on the Tigers to make it to the playoffs Chapmanville will end up just short.
With a young team, Chapmanville was very close this season.
In the end it looks like the back-to-back losses on Oct. 11 at Man (26-22) and Oct. 18 at home against Mingo Central (20-13) will end up being the difference between a 5-5 team and a 7-3 playoff team.
The Tigers led the Hillbillies and the Miners in each game but could not hold on. Both Man (8-1) and Mingo Central (7-2) are headed to the Class A and 2A playoffs respectively.
Chapmanville’s other losses were to 3A county rival Logan (27-14), 2A Cardinal Conference team Sissonville (40-22) and Wayne. Sissonville (8-1) is currently ranked No. 7 in Class AA, while Wayne (9-0) is No. 2. Logan (6-3), ranked No. 15 in the state in this week’s Triple-A ratings, can advance to the playoffs with a win over Scott on Friday night.
So totaling it all up, Chapmanville’s five losses this season could all come against playoff teams with a combined record of 38-7.
Chapmanville coach George Barker said his team played pretty well this year, all things considered. The Tigers were 4-3 in Cardinal Conference play and will finish fourth place in the league standings.
Last week’s closer at Wayne showed the no quit attitude the Tigers have had all season. Down 38-6 at the half to the two-time defending state champions, Chapmanville rallied to close to within 44-30, outscoring the Pioneers 24-6. Wayne then tacked on a few more touchdowns and the Tigers one more to set the final score.
Chapmanville also had an explosive night on the offensive end as sophomore QB Alex Berry passed for 285 yards and four touchdowns. Senior Brady Cox had 11 catches for 151 yards and three scores.
The Tigers had 359 yards of total offense for the game but managed just 74 yards on the ground on 32 attempts.
“For four quarters we played pretty well,” Chapmanville coach George Barker said. “When we look back and evaluate for the most part we had a pretty good season. The teams we lost to, just take a look at their records. Man is probably going to finish 9-1. Sissonville has one loss. Wayne has no losses. Mingo Central only has two losses. Those are all good football teams. We beat everyone we were supposed to but we just didn’t upset anyone.”
The losses to Man and Mingo Central this season were most damaging.
“We had some opportunities. We could have very well won the Man game and the Mingo Central game and we could be sitting here at 7-3,” Barker said. “But we’re not. We had leads in both of those games.”
The Tigers still have an outside shot at sneaking into the playoffs. If everything aligns just right, CRHS would be No. 16 and would possibly have to play at No. 1 Wayne again in the opening round.
“Two or three things have to happen,” Barker said. “If all the stars align just right we might sneak into the playoffs. All in all, it was a pretty decent year. I don’t think a lot of people really gave us a chance at the beginning of the season. We had a couple of surprises in that a couple of kids who hadn’t played before came out for the team and helped us. We also had a couple of youngsters step up and play.”
Chapmanville is still not mathmatically eliminated.
A 5-5 team making it to the post-season is not unprecidented. Mingo Central did it last year with a break-even season. Logan did it back in 2005 as a Double-A team. Both, however, were hammered in first-round playoff losses.
“Lincoln has to lose. Hoover has to win. There’s three scenarios that have to happen,” Barker said. “Then there’s another side. Scott has to beat Logan for us to get a bonus point. Some of these things are not very probable. In the top part, two of the things have to happen are probable and one other thing is not probable. It’s possible, though. The odds are probably against us but Mingo snuck in there with a 5-5 record last year.”
The Tigers will lose some key players due to graduation, including: Jordan Toler; Brady Cox; Nick Brumfield; Paul Workman; Matt Chapman; Justin Hensley; Chris Brewster; and Gabe Maynard.
Cox, a 6-foot-5 wide receiver, will be the biggest loss as he led the team with 48 catches for 746 yards and eight touchdowns. On defense he had 49 tackles and 15 solos as well as two interceptions.
Toler played some at quarterback and was 10-for-15 on the season for 188 yards and two TDs.
Brumfield, a CRHS baseball pitcher who came out for football in his senior season, was a pleasant surprise on defense as the linebacker recorded 50 tackles and 13 solos.
Chapman was the Tigers’ leading tackler with 59 solos and 22 assists. He also had a team-best four QB sacks.
Workman was Chapmanville’s starting fullback as he rushed for 433 yards on 115 carries and scored seven TDs.
Hensley, Brewster and Maynard were key linemen on both sides of the ball.
The good news for Chapmanville is that the bulk of its players return in 2014.
QB Berry had a good season in his first year as the CRHS starter. On the season, he completed 88-of-152 passes (57.9 percent) for 1,276 yards with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Chapmanville’s feature back, Wiley, also returns next season. He broke over the 1,000-yard rushing mark as he finished with 1,021 yards on 177 carries — an average of 5.8 yards per pop. He also scored a team-best nine rushing TDs.
Wiley also had eight catches out of the backfield for 206 yards and was the team’s primary punter as he averaged 31.2 yards per boot.
Two-way player Zac Casto, a junior, also returns. He had 18 catches for 327 yards and five touchdowns and was the team’s second-leading tackler with 59 solos and 22 assists, just one stop behind Dingess.
Sophomore WR Jacob Dingess had 16 catches for 174 yards and two scores.
Several other key Tigers will return as well, so the future looks bright for Chapmanville football.
“I thought offensively, we did fine,” Coach Barker said. “Defensively, we played well at times. We just could never play well on both sides of the ball for four quarters outside of the James Monroe game. But that’s just football. I was hoping that we could pull one of those out, but maybe we’ll get an opportunity. We don’t know now. But I’m pleased that we had a pretty good year. We had a lot of youngsters play. We’ll have seven of those starters back on offense and eight on defense. They aren’t the same people either. We’ll have a lot of lettermen back. Chapmanville Regional High School will have an excellent opportunity to have a pretty good football team next year.”
But will Coach Barker be back with the Tigers in 2014?
He said he hasn’t yet made up his mind.
Barker, who has coached at his alma mater since 2004 and entered his 10th year this fall, said he is close to retirement. He is also the CRHS Athletics Director.
Barker led the Tigers to the Class AA playoffs every year from 2007-11. In 2011, the Tigers made it all the way to the state semifinals, leaving CRHS just one game short of making it to the Wheeling Island Stadium carpet.
“I don’t know yet,” Barker said. “Time will tell. I am at the point that I am looking at retirement. I’ll just wait and see what happens. I got my son James to come up and work with me this year and I enjoyed having him around. I have a really good staff and I really enjoy being around them and we all work well together. We’ve got good kids. We couldn’t ask for a better group. That makes a big difference. When you have a good group that makes it worthwhile spending your time.”
2013 Chapmanville Regional High School
Football Schedule (5-5)
Aug. 30: *Sissonville, L 22-40
Sept. 6: *at Herbert Hoover, W 24-18
Sept. 13: *Scott, W 20-13
Sept. 20: *at Poca, W 34-31
Sept. 27: Logan (Hall of Fame Game), L 14-27
Oct. 4: James Monroe (Homecoming), W 36-0
Oct. 11: at Man, L 22-26
Oct. 18: *Mingo Central, L 14-20
Oct. 25: *at Tolsia, W 34-20
Nov. 1: *at Wayne, L 36-64
Nov. 8: OPEN DATE
*Cardinal Conference game