With the current system in place in West Virginia high school football every game is a big game.
With the WVSSAC’s computer system, every Friday night is meaningful.
Points are at stake.
Bonus points are for the taking.
Teams are jockying for playoff positions each week.
It’s like a bowl game every Friday night.
That’s what makes Friday night’s county clash between Logan and Chapmanville so huge.
Class AAA No. 10 Logan (3-1) is scheduled to host Class AA Chapmanville Regional (2-2) at Logan Stadium and more than just county bragging rights will be on the line as both teams have their sights set again on reaching the post-season.
It all begins here.
Logan suffered its first loss of the season last week, falling 46-12 at Kentucky 4A powerhouse Johnson Central. The Wildcats need the win to go 4-1 to keep its playoff hopes back on track.
Chapmanville comes in with momentum after scoring a thrilling come-from-behind 34-33 overtime win at home last week over Cardinal Conference foe Poca. The Tigers rallied from a 27-7 third-quarter deficit and need a win to break above .500.
Since Logan is a Class AAA team, a Chapmanville win would also give the Tigers Triple-A points in the WVSSAC Computer Ratings which award 12 points for a win over a 3A team, nine for a 2A squad and six for a Single-A team. It’s one of two 3A teams Chapmanville will play this season with Point Pleasant being the other in the regular season finale on Nov. 2.
The Wildcats are looking to bounce back from last week’s setback to the Golden Eagles.
Logan coach Gary Mullins said a lot will be on the line this week.
“This game is always big,” Mullins said. “It helps springboard you into the second half of the season. The Man game, if you win, starts your season out the right way. This game, being in the middle of the year kind of get you ready for the rest of the season and gives you confidence. Our first goal is to be the county champion. We can take care of goal number one on Friday night if we play well.”
The rival Wildcats and Tigers have played some memorable games since the series began in 2001.
Last year’s contest might have been the most exciting of them all, especially if you are a fan of the Blue and Gold.
After scoring a touchdown with one minute left in the game, Logan elected to go for two and the win instead of an extra point kick which could have sent the game into overtime. The Wildcats then went ahead 22-21 as a second-effort push by Logan’s Joe Street on the two-point conversion put Logan up for good. The one-point margin held.
Street has graduated, however, taking his game to the University of Charleston, but this year’s showdown could be just as close as the two teams appear to be evenly matched.
“You are going to get a hard fought game,” Mullins said. “(Chapmanville assistant coach) Rob Dial is as good of an offensive coordinator that you are going to see in the state of West Virginia as far as I’m concerned. Bo Berry always does a great job with the defense and Coach Barker’s teams are always ready to play. We’re going to have to go and play well and learn from our mistakes last week. The reason that last week’s game could help us is that all the games from here on out should slow down some for us compared to that team (Johnson Central). If we can build off that and keep getting better we should be OK.”
Logan and Chapmanville have played some other tight ones over the years.
Back in 2003, Chapmanville, led by then quarterback Jeremiah Butcher, scored a 20-14 upset victory over Logan in its annual homecoming game.
In the 2006 meeting at Logan, the Wildcats held on to win 14-7. Chapmanville appeared to have tied the game late in the fourth quarter but a 70-yard touchdown run by quarterback Evan Brown was called back after an illegal block in the back penalty.
There were other close calls as well.
In 2007 at Chapmanville, the Tigers held on for a narrow 13-12 victory over the Wildcats.
The 2009 game, also at Chapmanville, was won 21-14 by the Tigers.
In the 2002 matchup — Logan’s homecoming game — the Wildcats prevailed 27-8 in a game which was attended by Hollywood actor Leslie Nielsen of slap-stick movie “Naked Gun” and “Airplane!” fame.
Logan leads the all-time series 6-5 with the Tigers but have dropped four out of the last five. Last year’s Logan victory snapped Chapmanville’s four-game winning streak over the Cats.
The first three years the game was played from 2001-03, the county rivalry had the oddity of featuring then Chapmanville coach Ronnie Ooten, a Logan High School graduate, against then Logan coach George Barker, a Chapmanville High School graduate.
Barker then left Logan in 2004 to coach at his alma mater Chapmanville.
Since then, Mullins, a former Barker assistant coach at Logan, has coached eight times against his former boss.
And just to show you how even the series has been since, Mullins and Barker are each 4-4 as head coaches going against each other the last eight years.
This year is the rubber game.
Mullins said it’s been a good competitive series with the Tigers the last decade.
“Every year is different by itself,” Mullins said of the series. “We just want to win this game in the worst way to get us to 4-1. It would set us up to where we need to be later in the year.”
Logan was led last week by senior quarterback Chris Marcum, who was 7-for-14 passing for 124 yards with a touchdown and an interception against Johnson Central. Two weeks ago, he had 304 yards in the air in Logan’s 48-0 win at Lincoln County. Marcum also led all Wildcat rushers with eight carries for 72 yards last Friday.
Marcum, however, was banged up in last week’s game, and Mullins said he is questionable for Friday’s contest with the Tigers.
“We don’t know about Chris,” Mullins said. “He got banged up. We have a couple of other guys who are also beat up. But the team that we put out there will be ready to go. We’ll see this week at practice but the 11 guys that we put out there will be ready for sure.”
Khaleel Reynolds, splitting time last week in the Logan backfield, had four catches for 84 yards, including a 29-yard TD catch, and added 12 yards rushing and 4-for-9 passing for 59 yards.
Wideout C.J. Williams reeled in two passes for 59 yards. Josh Rein was held to two catches for eight yards after a five-catch, 247-yard, three-touchdown performance against Lincoln County a couple of weeks ago.
Clayton Marcum led the Logan defense last week with 11 tackles. Brynden “Worm” Street, former Wildcat Joe Street’s younger brother, had an interception.
Chapmanville was led last week by senior tailback Dustin Smith, who finished with 27 carries for 194 yards and three touchdowns on runs of 7, 1 and 20. He added a fourth touchdown on a 12-yard reception and also passed for 29 yards to Zac Casto on a gadget play.
The Tigers will have an added wrinkle in their backfield this week as senior DaShawn Alexander is expected to suit up. Alexander has finished his required 14 practices after being declared eligible to play a couple of weeks ago.
Alexander transferred to Chapmanville late in the 2011 season from St. Albans and played six games for the 9-4 Tigers, rushing for 391 yards on 44 carries. He scored a 60-yard TD run in the Braxton County playoff game and sparked the Tigers with 125 yards rushing on just 11 totes in a 20-14 win. Alexander also scored on a 30-yard touchdown run in Chapmanville’s 33-13 loss at Point Pleasant last November in the Class AA semifinals.
“He’s a great player,” Mullins said of Alexander.
Logan’s JV team stayed unbeaten with a pair of recent wins. The Wildcats (4-0) won 62-8 over Lincoln County last Monday and also prevailed 8-2 in a mini JV game last Friday night at Johnson Central, prior to the varsity matchup with the Golden Eagles. The LHS and Johnson Central JV teams played two 15-minute quarters.
“We gave up a safety early in the game and scored on our last drive,” Mullins said.
The Logan and Johnson Central JV teams were scheduled to play again on Monday night at Logan.
— Chapmanville Regional coach George Barker will comment on this week’s game with Logan in Thursday’s sports.
2011: Logan 22, Chapmanville 21
2010: Chapmanville 35, Logan 20
2009: Chapmanville 21, Logan 14
2008: Chapmanville 21, Logan 6
2007: Chapmanville 13, Logan 12
2006: Logan 14, Chapmanville 7
2005: Logan 42, Chapmanville 6
2004: Logan 29, Chapmanville 6
2003: Chapmanville 20, Logan 14
2002: Logan 27, Chapmanville 8
2001: Logan 21, Chapmanville 0