CHAPMANVILLE — This might be the year the Chapmanville Regional High School football team turns the corner.
At least, the Tigers hope so.
After enjoying six straight winning seasons and five straight Class AA playoff appearances, Chapmanville slipped to 4-6 in 2012.
Last year, Chapmanville improved to 5-5 but still missed making it the post-season.
Close losses to Mingo Central (20-14) and county rival Man (26-22) might have kept the Tigers on the outside looking in. The loss to Mingo Central was most damaging as Chapmanville blew a 14-0 halftime lead to the Miners which stormed back to win and made it to the playoffs with an 8-2 mark. Man, a Class A playoff team, ended up 9-2, after a first-round post-season exit.
Graduated seniors must be replaced and the Tigers lost their usual share, but plenty of starters are back — 15 in all — and that bodes well for Chapmanville heading into the Aug. 29 season opener at Sissonville.
Chapmanville 11th-year head coach George Barker said the Tigers have lots of optimism and motivation going into the grid season and hope to make a return to the 2A playoffs.
“We’ve got the majority of our kids back,” Barker said. “We have 15 out of 22 starters back — seven on offense and eight on defense. Only one of those players was a two-way starter in Devin Wiley. That’s a lot of lettermen back for a Double-A football team. Plus the fact that our sophomores have grown up and they look better. Are we going to be massive in size? No. Are we overly talented? No. But it’s going to take a good football team to beat us.”
Barker touts experience and cohesiveness as two of his team’s strengths.
“In all of the teams that I’ve had this seems to be more of a team. They like each other and if that continues then we’ve got a chance,” he said.
The Tigers start off with one their top returnees in prolific passer Alex Berry. The 6-foot-2, 170-pound quarterback led the Cardinal Conference last season with 1,276 passing yards. He completed 88-of-152 passes on the season for 57.9 percent. Berry threw for 14 touchdowns and was intercepted 11 times.
“Alex led the conference last year in passing,” Barker said. “He’s grown. One of Alex’s biggest attributes is that he makes good decisions. Anybody will tell you that knows anything about quarterbacking that making good decisions is the most desirable of the characteristics. He’s a very accurate passer — one of the most accurate that we’ve ever had. Hopefully we can keep him healthy because we’ve got good receivers.”
CRHS also has three other quarterbacks.
One of them is senior Nate Ramey (5-10, 160). Ramey saw some time under center last season as he was 3-for-3 passing for 114 yards and a touchdown.
“Nate Ramey has all the tools but there’s other things that he can do,” Coach Barker said. “We have to find a way to get everyone on the field. Nate’s going to help us in other areas but don’t be surprised to see him on the field at any time.”
Freshman Adam Vance (5-9, 165) and sophomore Austin Butcher (5-10, 160) are other QB’s.
“Butcher is a gifted athlete,” Barker said. “Vance throws the ball extremely well for a freshman.”
At tailback, senior Devin Wiley is back. Last season, Wiley rushed for 1,021 yards on 185 carries (5.5 ypc) and scored 12 touchdowns. Wiley, a Class AA honorable mention all-state selection, also made nine catches out of the backfield for 238 yards (26.4 ypc) and three more scores.
The speedy Wiley is the real deal and could have a major breakout season.
“He’s a little stronger and a little faster,” Barker said of Wiley. “He has to take on the leadership role this year. He’s a four-year starter and we look for bigger and better things out of him. We have to keep him healthy. He has to be one of the best running backs in the conference. I told him as far as I am concerned that he has to be on the Kennedy Award Watch List just because of the numbers that he’s had previously. He has to be our biggest weapon offensively.”
Ramey may also see some time at tailback to spell Wiley.
Tanner Dillion, a junior and 5-10, 180-pounder, gives the Tigers another backfield threat. Last year, Dillon had 31 rushes for 128 yards.
“He ran the ball extremely well last year in the Scott game,” Barker said of Dillon. “He has gotten bigger. He has good speed and good hands coming out of the backfield along with Wiley and Ramey. These three guys will handle a lot of the team’s rushing.”
Ryan Craddock (5-10, 165 junior) gives CRHS another option in the backfield, along with freshman Dylan Smith (5-8, 155), junior William Seigman (6-0, 155) and senior Austin Fowler (6-0, 185).
At receiver, senior Zac Casto (6-2, 198), tabbed as an honorable mention all-stater last year, is Chapmanville’s biggest threat. Last year, Casto reeled in 18 passes for 327 yards (18.2 ypc) and five touchdowns. Brady Cox, who led the team with 48 catches for 746 yards and eight TDs last year, has graduated. He was a second-team all-state pick in 2013.
Tyler Neil, a senior, gives Chapmanville another top target at wide receiver. Neil had seven grabs for 63 yards last season.
“Casto and Tyler Neil are both seniors. Neil had some catches last year as a junior,” Barker said. “Tyler spotted for both Brady and Casto. Both receivers are tall and both run good routes. They both have good hands, too. Casto had gotten hurt last year and Neil took his place.”
Junior Jacob Dingess will see time as a slot receiver. He was also a kick returner last year.
“He’s got tremendous speed and good hands,” Barker said. “All of those kids are a threat to take it to the house anytime they touch it. We feel really good about our receiving corps.”
Newcomer Trevor Nagy (5-10, 170 junior), a basketball player, could also reel in some catches this fall.
“He’s in the mix of things,” Barker said of Nagy. “He’s got skills and good speed. He was a football player in the past and decided to concentrate on basketball but his senior year he wants to do it all. We look forward to having him.”
Noah Dingess, a freshman receiver, is also pressing for playing time, along with three other freshmen in Cade Elkins, Robert Seigman and Reed Vance. Christian Farley, is a junior wideout and could also see time on the field. Justin Bryant is a first-year senior player who can play at wide receiver on the defensive line. Tyler Moore, a Chapmanville basketball player, is a sophomore WR/DB.
Chapmanville returns three starters along the offensive line. Tyler Brewster and Gabe Maynard, two starters, have graduated.
Junior Blake Dalton (5-9, 205) and senior Rodney Workman (5-11, 260) are returning starters at guard. Ricky Combs, a 5-11, 230-pound junior, also is back on the O-line at the all-important left tackle position as he will protect Berry’s blind side.
“This is the third year starting for Rodney Workman,” Barker said.
At right tackle, senior Matt Dingess (6-1, 215) appears to have the nod. Dingess played along the defensive line last season and also at linebacker and led the team with 81 total tackles.
“That makes him a two-way player because he excels at the defensive end position,” Barker said of Dingess. “He will also play offense and he’s doing a good job.”
Barker said the starting center position is up for grabs. Devin Perry (6-0, 240 junior), Evan Willis (5-10, 175 freshman), Andy Bias (5-10, 170 junior) are vying for the job. Combs also started at center in the season opener last year.
“There’s several kids in there in the mix,” Barker said. “Combs started there last year in the opener but we like him better at left tackle. One of these kids will emerge.”
Senior Tristan Gilman (6-0, 295) gives Chapmanville some muscle and size along the line.
On the defensive line, Morgan Jackson (6-1, 290 senior) is back as a starter. Last year, he had 28 tackles. Defensive end Michael Hall (6-2, 260 senior) is also back, along with leading tackler Matt Dingess, who also led the team with four QB sacks. Hall had 60 tackles in 2013. Austin Kirk (6-1, 175 senior) looks to have the nod at the other DE spot.
“Dingess and Kirk have good size and speed and are both good athletes,” Barker said.
Gilman may also see time on the defensive line. Dusty Vinson, a sophomore, can play on both sides of the line as well as freshmen Hunter Adkins, Zach Workman, Corey McGraw and Caleb Williamson.
At linebacker, Dillon returns. He had 62 tackles last year. Workman will also see time at linebacker along with sophomore Alex Oxley (6-0, 195) and Tristan Adkins (6-0, 200 senior).
“We’re real pleased with Tristan. He’s a senior and he’s doing a real good job right now,” Barker said. “All of these kids will see playing time.”
Also at linebacker, Chapmanville has Craddock, senior Austin Baker (5-9, 165) and Evan Willis.
In the secondary, Wiley is a returning starter. He made 22 tackles last year and had an interception.
Ramey, who had 38 tackles last fall, is another starter at cornerback and Neil played a lot there last fall as well. Jacob Dingess also played some last year in the secondary.
Butcher looks to have the nod at safety along with Casto and junior Ethan Neace (5-8, 160). Casto was second on the team last year in total tackles with 80. Billy Shepherd, a sophomore and 6-1, 170-pounder, gives the Tigers’ secondary even more depth.
In the special teams, Barker said Wiley, Tanner Dillon and sophomore Caleb Maynard are battling for the starting punting job. Wiley punted last year and averaged 31.2 yards per boot.
Barker said Tanner Dillon will most likely handle Chapmanville’s placekicking duties this season. Bias and Ramey are the long snappers.
A total of 15 freshmen are on the roster. Tyler Barcklay (OL/LB) is one of them, along with Tim Bigley (OL/DL) and Kobe Meade (OL/DL), a late addition.
As always, Chapmanville will be challenged with a tough Cardinal Conference schedule. Last year, league champion Wayne made it all the way to the state championship game at Wheeling Island Stadium before falling. The Pioneers were 10-0 during the regular season and 7-0 in the CC.
Second place Sissonville (9-1) and third place Mingo Central (8-2) were also playoff teams.
Chapmanville was fourth last year in the eight-team league with a 4-3 conference mark.
Tolsia, which was 5-5 overall and 3-4 in the Cardinal last season, showed signs of improvement. Herbert Hoover (3-7), Scott (3-7) and Poca (1-9) were at the bottom but could be much improved this season.
Chapmanville has a new opponent on the 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’ other two non-conference games are against county rivals Logan and Man. CRHS lost 27-14 to Logan last season and 26-22 to the Hillbillies.
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.
Barker’s staff is pretty much the same as last year.
Bo Berry is back as the defensive coordinator, while Barker’s son James Barker is the offensive coordinator.
Larry Dingess returns as the special teams coordinator.
Ron Jones is back as the line coach, while Zach Belcher returns as the wide receivers/linebackers coach. Cody Perry also will help coach the offensive and defensive lines.
“Our staff is all back and that will make for a good year,” Coach Barker said. “We feel real good about this year. It’s one of the better groups that we’ve had.”
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 (Hall of Fame Game), 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 26: at Logan, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 3: at Mount View, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 10: Man (Homecoming), 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 17: *at Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 24: *Tolsia, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 31: *Wayne (Senior Night), 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
2014 Chapmanville Regional
High School Football Roster
No. Name HT. WT. POS. CLASS
No. Name HT. WT. POS. CLASS
2 Noah Dingess 5-7 145 WR/DB 9
3 Trevor Nagy 5-10 170 WR/DB 12
4 Austin Kirk 6-1 175 WR/DL 12
5 Austin Butcher 5-10 160 RB/DB 10
6 Nate Ramey 5-10 160 RB/DB/LS 12
7 Caleb Maynard 5-9 140 WR/DB/P 10
8 Adam Vance 5-9 165 QB/LB 9
10 Alex Berry 6-2 170 QB/DB 11
11 Dylan Smith 5-8 155 RB/DB 9
12 Zac Casto 6-2 198 WR/DB 12
13 Cade Elkins 5-2 115 WR/DB 9
15 Billy Shepherd 6-1 170 WR/DB 10
16 Tyler Neil 5-11 145 WR/DB 12
17 Tristan Adkins 6-0 200 WR/LB 12
18 Reed Vance 5-8 125 WR/DB 9
19 William Seigman 6-0 155 RB/DB 11
20 Jacob Dingess 5-10 155 WR/DB 11
21 Devin Wiley 5-8 175 RB/DB/P 12
22 Christian Farley 5-10 140 WR/DB 11
25 Tanner Dillon 5-10 180 RB/LB/K/P 11
26 Tyler Moore 6-4 170 WR/DB 10
27 Austin Baker 5-9 165 RB/LB 12
28 William Seigman 5-9 135 WR/DB 9
30 Austin Fowler 6-0 185 RB/LB 12
32 Ryan Craddock 5-10 165 RB/LB 10
40 Ethan Neace 5-8 160 RB/LB 11
42 Tyler Barcklay 5-9 150 OL/LB 9
44 Timothy Bigley 5-11 180 OL/DL 9
46 Kobe Meade 6-2 225 OL/DL 9
50 Evan Willis 5-10 175 OL/LB 9
52 Matt Dingess 6-1 215 OL/DL/LB 12
53 Morgan Jackson 6-1 290 OL/DL 12
54 Blake Dalton 5-9 205 OL/DL 11
55 Dusty Vinson 5-7 175 OL/DL 10
57 Hunter Adkins 5-6 165 OL/DL 9
60 Caleb Williamson 6-0 165 OL/DL 9
62 Devin Perry 6-0 240 OL/DL 11
63 Andy Bias 5-10 170 OL/DE 11
65 Jared McCloud 6-1 225 OL/DL 9
66 Zackary Workman 5-11 170 OL/DL 9
69 Ethan Conley 6-0 200 OL/DL 11
70 Alex Oxley 6-0 195 OL/LB 10
71 Corey McGraw 6-2 225 OL/DL 9
73 Michael Hall 6-2 260 OL/DL 12
75 Tristan Gilman 6-0 295 OL/DL 12
77 Ricky Combs 5-11 230 OL/DL 11
79 Rodney Workman 5-11 260 OL/DL 12
88 Justin Bryant 6-1 190 WR/DE 12
Head coach: George Barker
Assistats: Bo Berry, James Barker, Larry Dingess, Ron Jones, Zach Belcher and Cody Perry
Team doctors: Derek Dalton and Randy Bowen
Trainer: Stacy Ellis