CHAPMANVILLE — It’s June and the school year just ended.
That means one thing.
The summer is here and football season is just around the corner.
Starting on Monday, all three Logan County football teams — the Chapmanville Regional High School Tigers, the Man Hillbillies and the Logan Wildcats are set to take to the field for the first time for the beginning of the three-week June practice period.
Actually, all prep sports teams are allowed to practice.
But for local fans, the focus is on the gridiron.
The Chapmanville Tigers are hoping to work toward a Class AA playoff berth this fall after a 5-5 campaign last year and a 4-6 season in 2012 after advancing to the post-season every fall from 2007-2011.
Chapmanville made it as far as the state semifinal in 2011 but lost to Point Pleasant 31-13 in the Final Four round.
The Tigers have high hopes in 2014 but lost 13 seniors to graduation, including: Jordan Toler (QB/DB); Austin Frye (WR/DB); Brady Cox (WR/DB); Nick Brumfield (WR/LB); Jackie Johnson (RB/DB); Chaysen Coleman (WR/DB); Paul Workman (RB/DL); Matt Chapman (RB/LB); Justin Hensley (OL/DL); Tyler Brewster (OL/DL); Gabe Maynard (OL/DL); Chad Maynard (WR/DB); and Jody Frye (RB/LB).
Cox and Brewster are headed to play collegiate football at West Virginia State, a Division II school. Maynard signed with Division II Glenville State College.
Cox was Chapmanville top wide receiver last season as he made 48 grabs for 746 yards and eight touchdowns and will be sorely missed.
Lots of key Tigers and starters are back, however.
Chapmanville coach George Barker said the Tigers’ off-season program has went smoothly.
“So far, we’ve had a good off-season, if there is such a thing nowadays,” Barker said. “We’ve been working hard in the weight room and our kids are getting stronger. I think that we’ve got a chance. It just depends on the kids.”
Barker said his team is scheduled to take part in at least two — maybe three 7-on-7 passing tournaments, including one at home on June 20 at Chapmanville’s Tiger Stadium. The Tigers are also set to scrimmage against Lincoln County.
“We’re going to start on Monday, June 16,” Barker said. “We will also participate in a 7-on-7 or two and then maybe on that Wednesday go to Concord and that Thursday go to Marshall. Then we’ll host our own 7-on-7 on Friday, June 20. The second week is kind of open and there isn’t seeming to be a whole lot going on. Then we’re going to have an intersquad scrimmage with Lincoln County in the third week on Thursday. We’ll probably call it quits when July gets here. The third week is so tough for us because are so geared around vacation in this area due to the traditional miner’s vacations.”
Barker said Chapmanville’s football team might complete the three-week practice period with an intersquad scrimmage.
“We might wrap it up with a little Orange and Black scrimmage on that Wednesday if that’s what the kids want to do. June is for them and that’s the way that we treat it,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of success in what we do.”
Barker said the three-week June practice period has helped out his program a lot since it was implemented several years ago.
“You get to work a lot with the skilled position guys,” he said. “You get to practice and you get to organize. With that, we’re ready to go on the first day of practice. When we do our Midnight Madness on that first day our kids will be going no huddle at the end of it. The first day of practice is Monday, August the 4th. We’ll start with Midnight Madness.”
Chapmanville has a new opponent on the 2014 schedule with an Oct. 3 non-conference game at Mount View. The Class AA Golden Knights, which have struggled in recent years, replace James Monroe. The Tigers and Golden Knights played each other as recent as last decade.
“We dropped James Monroe and we filled them in with Mount View,” Barker said. “We’ve played them in the past and they are one of the few Double-A schools left here in the southern part of the state. An hour and a half trip beats a four-hour trip. That’s a pretty good deal for us.”
The Tigers are scheduled to open the regular season on Aug. 29 at Sissonville in a Cardinal Conference game.
Chapmanville begins the season with four conference contests — Sept. 5 against Herbert Hoover in the home opener, Sept. 12 at Scott and Sept. 19 at home against the Poca Dots.
The Tigers then have three straight non-conference games — Sept. 26 at county rival Logan, Oct. 3 at Mount View and Oct. 10 at home against county foe Man.
CRHS then closes out the season with three Cardinal games — Oct. 17 at Mingo Central, Oct. 24 at home against Tolsia and Oct. 31 against Wayne at home.
There are no bye weeks for the Tigers, so that means 10 games in 10 weeks.
That’s how it shaked out last year as well.
Chapmanville’s trip to Mingo Central and Buck Harless Stadium is the first time the Tigers will play the Miners on their home field. Last year, CRHS played Poca in the Cardinal Conference Gridorama on Mingo Central’s Field Turf. Chapmanville lost to Mingo Central, 20-14, last season at home.
Barker said the 2014 schedule is again very tough.
“Anybody can beat anybody in this conference, so you have to strap it up and get ready to play,” he said. “You’d better have a great non-conference schedule as well.”
The Tigers have two scrimmages set — Aug. 16 at 5:45 p.m. against last year’s 2A state runner-up Wayne in the Cardinal Conference Gridorama at Scott High School and Aug. 22 at home against Lincoln County.
Barker said Chapmanville has seven starters returning on offense and eight on defense.
Leading the offense is quarterback Alex Berry, who completed 88-of-152 passes last season (57.9 percent) with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his first year as the starter.
Feature tailback Devin Wiley is also back. Last season, Wiley rushed for 1,021 yards on 185 carries (5.5 ypc.) with nine rushing TDs and three more as a receiver. Wiley also had nine catches for 238 yards and three touchdowns — an average of 26.4 yards per grab.
Tanner Dillon, who ran 31 times for 128 yards last season, is also back.
Chapmanville’s top returning receiver is Zac Casto, a rising senior who snared 18 passes for 327 yards last season (18.2 ypc.) with five touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball leading tackler Matt Dingess is back. He made 59 solo tackles and 22 assists last year for 81 total. Casto (80 total tackles) is also back as well as Michael Hall (60 tackles) and Dillon (62 tackles). Dingess also had a team-high four sacks last season.
“We’ve got seven back on offense and eight back on defense,” Barker said. “On paper, that sounds pretty good. So right now on paper we’re pretty excited about our season. But they have to perform. Last year, I think that we forgot to perform a couple of times in the fourth quarter. We finished 5-5 and we had a couple of opportunities. A couple of those close games could have went our way. But we could have also been 1-9 with the games that we played. On the flip side, we feel like we were very fortunate to win four of those games.”
Regional High School
Aug. 29: *at Sissonville, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 5: *Herbert Hoover, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 12: *at Scott, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 19: *Poca, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 26: at Logan, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 3: at Mount View, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 10: Man, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 17: *at Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 24: *Tolsia, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 31: *Wayne, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 7: OPEN DATE
* Cardinal Conference game
Regional High School
Football Results (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