CHAPMANVILLE — Even as far as preseason scrimmages go, Friday night’s clash at Chapmanville’s Tiger Stadium between county line border rivals Chapmanville Regional and Lincoln County was strange.
There were pros and there were cons.
There were some hard hits, some big plays and some outstanding individual performances.
All in all, the Tigers received a tough challenge from the Panthers, something they needed heading into next Friday night’s regular season opener at Cardinal Conference opponent Sissonville.
Chapmanville, coming off last year’s 9-4 Class AA state Final Four finish, spotted Lincoln County an 18-0 lead in Friday’s preseason finale, then the Tigers awoke from their slumber and buried the Panthers.
After a 24-6 deficit and a timeout by head coach George Barker, Chapmanville rallied for 27 unanswered points to take a 33-24 halftime lead.
Both teams then emptied their benches in the second half, playing a 12-minute quarter with backups and a 6-minute fourth period with third-string and freshmen players.
Chapmanville’s reserves also had a fine showing by outscoring Lincoln County’s backup players 13-0.
For the whole 42-minute game, Chapmanville finished with 531 yards of total offense, including 34 rushes for 341 yards and a combined 12-of-21 passing for 190 yards from four different quarterbacks.
Lincoln County was held to 19 rushes for 55 yards. The Panthers did do some damage in the air, particularly early on, as LC’s quarterbacks were a combined 14-for-27 passing for 213 yards.
Chapmanville’s varsity offense, running out of the shotgun and using quick draw plays, power sweeps and misdirection handoffs, ran for 241 yards on 19 carries — an average of 12.7 yards a tote.
Sophomore running back Devin Wiley led the way as he had 97 yards on just eight carries (12.1 ypc.) and two touchdowns on runs of 1 and 60.
Senior Dustin Smith had seven rushes for 85 yards (12.1 ypc.), while senior Trevor Payne had 53 yards on just three attempts — an average of 17.7 yards a touch.
Tigers’ senior starting quarterback Brandon White was 2-for-8 passing for 23 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown pass. He left the game after the first quarter as he iced a swollen calf. It was only precautionary and he’s expected to start in next week’s season opener at Sissonville.
Junior backup quarterback Max Spradlin then stepped in and rallied Chapmanville as he was 5-for-6 passing for 81 yards. He fired two touchdown passes of 8 and 44 yards — both to junior wide receiver Brady Cox, who finished the first half with five grabs for 94 yards.
Zac Casto also had a 9-yard touchdown catch from White in the first quarter — a score which put Chapmanville to within 18-6 with 11 seconds left in the first quarter.
Lincoln County fired touchdown passes of 51 and 47 yards to take a 12-0 lead. Both conversions failed. Payne intercepted the Panther quarterback on the second attempt.
Then after a Chapmanville fumble, Lincoln County made it 18-0 with a 15-yard TD pass.
The White-to-Casto score got Chapmanville right into it.
But the Panthers answered right back with an 18-yard touchdown run with 11:43 left until the half, increasing the lead to 24-6. For the fourth straight time, Lincoln County’s two-point conversion attempt failed.
Spradlin then rallied the Tigers.
A 22-yard completion to Cox gave Chapmanville a first-and-10 at the LC 44-yard line.
Payne then ran for 16 yards and Smith added a 20-yard run to set up Spradlin’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Cox with 9:57 left until the intermission. Alex Chapman’s extra point kick was good as the Tigers trailed 24-13.
Lincoln County was then forced to punt on its next possession, thanks to a 17-yard quarterback sack by Chapmanville’s Matthew Dingess which put the Panthers in a fourth-and-27 hole.
Chapmanville took over at midfield and then drove 50 yards in nine plays, capped off by Wiley’s 1-yard TD run with 4:50 left to make it a 24-19 ballgame.
It was three-and-out again for the Panthers on their next possession.
After the Lincoln County punt, Chapmanville was into the end zone again two plays later as the speedy Wiley broke one for a 60-yard touchdown run with 2:53 to go until halftime. Dustin Conley’s PAT was good and the Tigers led for the first time at 26-24.
Chapmanville’s defense then stood tall again, holding Lincoln County to another three-and-out after three straight incomplete passes.
Four plays later, Spradlin fired a beautiful bomb pass to Cox, hitting the junior in stride for a 44-yard touchdown pass with 1:16 left. Conley tacked on the extra point kick and the Tigers led 33-24.
The Tigers added two more second half touchdowns with their reserve units.
On the last play of the third quarter, freshman third-string quarterback Alex Berry connected with fellow frosh Jacob Dingess on a 61-yard touchdown pass. Chapman’s extra point kick was good.
Then with 4:51 left in the game, Chapmanville’s Ethan Neace scooped up a Panther fumble at the Tiger 15-yard line. CRHS would eventually score as Berry tossed a 3-yard TD pass to junior wide receiver Jackie Johnson with 3:01 remaining in the contest.
Berry was 3-for-5 passing for 71 yards.
Fourth-string quarterback Nate Ramey was 1-for-1 in the air for 8 yards. He also added 16 yards rushing.
Dingess and Tanner Dillon each ran for 34 yards in the second half. Ethan Thompson had one carry for 12 yards. The Chapmanville backups had 14 rushes for 97 yards. Andy Thompson had two grabs for 15 yards.