This was the year Chapmanville would finally get over the hump and beat the Pioneers.
It just didn’t turn out that way for the Tigers, however, which lost 16-14 to Wayne on Senior Night on Friday at Chapmanville’s Tiger Stadium.
The game pitted Wayne and Chapmanville which entered the game with identical 7-1 records and No. 5 rankings in this week’s Class AA Computer Ratings.
The Tigers had a shot at victory but kicker Craig Johnson’s potential game-winning 32-yard field goal attempt was blocked with 40 seconds to go in the game.
Wayne then took a knee to run out the clock and preserve the victory.
The Pioneers, which led the series with Chapmanville by a 13-2 count since 1966, beat the Tigers for the seventh straight year.
Friday night’s clash seemed to be Chapmanville’s best shot, but the Pioneers were able to churn out the yards on the ground and keep driving the ball down field.
Wayne improved to 8-1 overall and 6-1 in the Cardinal Conference and all but wrapped up a first-round home playoff game and the league title.
Chapmanville, which closes out the regular season next Friday night at Point Pleasant, dropped to 7-2, 4-2. The Tigers are still hoping to finish in the top eight and secure their first home playoff game in two years with a win next week at Point. The Black Knights fell to 6-3 on the season with Friday night’s 23-16 loss at Herbert Hoover.
The Tigers trailed Wayne 16-6 after three quarters and appeared to be dead.
Chapmanville, though, rallied late after a series of big plays and turn of events.
The Tigers pulled to within 16-14 with 2:07 left in the game after quarterback Josh Easterling ran in for a 4-yard touchdown and then passed to Zach Maynard on the two-point conversion. The drive was only kept alive after two fourth-down conversions by Chapmanville. One was a 25-yard pass from Easterling to Dustin Botsch on a fourth-and-15, while the other was a 9-yard pass to Maynard to the Wayne 4 on a fourth-and-three.
Easterling then scored on the very next play.
But after the touchdown and conversion, the Tigers still trailed by two points and still needed to come up with another big play — an on-side kick.
Johnson’s kick bounced along the dirt and grass, went off a Wayne player’s leg and fell into the arms of Maynard at midfield.
The Tigers then marched down field.
A 16-yard run by Kennedy Award candidate Jake Robinson and a 12-yard pass to Maynard gave Chapmanville a first-and-10 at the 15-yard line.
But after two incomplete passes and a no-gainer by Robinson, the Tigers were forced into the field goal attempt. Johnson never got a chance to get the ball into the air as two Wayne players crashed through Chapmanville’s line and ended up blocking the pigskin.
After a scoreless first quarter, Chapmanville went ahead 6-0 with 10:12 left until the half as Easterling fired a 16-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Cox. Johnson’s PAT was wide left.
Wayne then went ahead for good, 8-6, at the 7:30 mark with Jake Barr’s 4-yard TD run and Brandon Spurlock’s ensuing two-point conversion run.
Then after a Spurlock interception, he then ran in from 34 yards out with 3:45 left until the intermission to put the Pioneers on top 16-6, Barr’s two-point conversion run was good.
Robinson was held to 19 carries for 92 yards and one catch for nine yards for the game. For the season, he’s still shy of the 2,000-yard plateau with 156 carries for 1,936 yards and 31 touchdowns.
Botsch ran nine times for 58 yards and had three catches for 35 yards.
Maynard finished with three catches for 26 yards, while Dylan Wiley had three grabs for 43 yards.
Easterling was 11-for-26 passing for 129 yards with one interception. He rushed eight times for 16 yards.
Joe Woody and Brandon Ferguson led the Chapmanville defense with seven tackles each. Woody also had three assists, while Ferguson had one sack.
Mark Lawson had six solos and two assists. John Toler had six stops and one assist.
Dustin Smith finished with five solos for the game.
Jacob Browning had three tackles and two assisted stops. Thomas Belcher had three tackles.
Cox and Brad Parsons had two solos and one assist each. Dylan Saunders had two solos and two assists. Maynard also had two tackles.
Caleb Belcher had one solo, one assist, one special teams tackle and a fumble recovery.
Craig Johnson, Trevor Payne, Chase Queen, Jason Stowers and Jimmy Conley all had one tackle. Queen also had a special teams tackle.
Dustin Conley punted four times for an average of 33.3 yards per kick.
The Tigers were penalized nine times for 45 yards. Wayne had five flags for 35 yards.