CHAPMANVILLE — Not too many years ago the Chapmanville Tiger football team opened up the season against always tough Shady Spring or Mount View, which used to have a very strong program before falling on hard times the last few years.
It was usually not a pleasant experience as Chapmanville often lost its season opener and got itself into an 0-1 hole.
But the last six years, the Tigers have opened against Sissonville.
After falling to the Indians in the season opener in 2006 and 2007, Chapmanville has beaten Sissonville the last four years. Last year, the Tigers routed the Indians 47-7 at home. Two years ago on the road, Chapmanville rolled to a 45-6 win over Sissonville, led by its backfield tandem of Jake Robinson and Dustin Botsch.
The Chapmanville Regional High School football team hopes the success continues against Sissonville on Friday night as the Tigers open with the Indians at Sissonville High School in a Cardinal Conference clash.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.
The Tigers, led by ninth-year head coach and recently named athletics director George Barker, went 9-4 last year and advanced to the Class AA Final Four round of the playoffs. Chapmanville is searching for its seventh straight winning season and sixth playoff appearance in a row.
Chapmanville scrimmaged Sherman and Lincoln County in the preseason. The Tigers beat Lincoln County, 33-24, in last week’s preseason finale. Tacking on the two scores by its JV players in the second half, Chapmanville outscored the Panthers 46-24 in three and a half quarters of football.
The Tigers trailed Lincoln County 24-6 but then reeled off 40 unanswered points.
“We don’t do a game plan for our scrimmages but I think every year it’s indicative that we falter some when they are put into game situations. But we are looking to find out what we can do,” Barker said about last week’s scrimmage. “We made some errors early and they had a few lucky breaks and things went their way. We settled down and we started to play football. Overall, our two scrimmages went well.”
Chapmanville senior starting quarterback Brandon White left last week’s preseason game early with an injured leg but Barker said he hopes he’s healthy enough to play tonight.
“Brandon White is banged up,” Barker said. “He has some type of muscle injury in his leg. Other than that we’re relatively healthy. That’s always the goal — try to get ready to play without losing people. Football is that kind of sport. Right now, we’re real fortunate to have everybody.”
Sissonville hasn’t had much luck in recent years but Coach Barker said the Indians will be improved and the Tigers can take nothing for granted. Sissonville, coached by Eddie Smolder, were only 2-8 overall and 1-6 in the Cardinal Conference last season — only ahead of last place Tolsia (0-10, 0-7) in the league standings.
The Tigers were third in the league last year with a 5-2 mark. Point Pleasant won the Cardinal last season with a 7-0 mark ahead of second-place Wayne (6-1) but lost to the Pioneers in the Class AA state championship game at Wheeling Island Stadium. Point has since left the league for the Class AAA ranks and have been replaced this fall by Mingo Central.
Sissonville is led by senior quarterback Austin Crawford (6-0, 180). The Indians have some size up front with 285-pound senior tackle Phillip Sands.
“We think Sissonville will be a tough opponent,” Barker said. “I think everyone in the conference thinks they will be much better. We’re going to have to step our game up. They like to spread it out and throw it some. They have their quarterback back, Crawford. He’s good and he can throw it and run it. They also have their top running back returning. They are a little bit young up front. Their coach has been there and they won’t be as green. It’s going to be tough week in and week out in our conference. Our conference schedule and our non-conference schedule are going to be tough all the way up and down.”
2011: Chapmanville 47, Sissonville 7
2010: Chapmanville 45, Sissonville 6
2009: Chapmanville 34, Sissonville 19
2008: Chapmanville 41, Sissonville 19
2007: Sissonville 27, Chapmanville 21 (OT)
2006: Sissonville 34, Chapmanville 14