Both teams are ranked in the state’s top 10 as Chapmanville is No. 6 in Class AA, while undefeated James Monroe is rated No. 2 in this week’s WVSSAC Computer Ratings.
The Ti-gers, coming off last week’s big 35-20 win at 3A county rival Logan, stand at 4-1 on the season. James Monroe is 5-0 after dusting off Scott, 55-19, last week. Chapmanville downed Scott earlier in the season, 62-20.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday at the James Monroe High School football field at Lindside.
Chapmanville coach George Barker said he knows the playoff implications will be written all over the clash with the Mavericks. James Monroe is the only new opponent on this year’s Chapmanville football schedule. The Mavericks replaced Tug Valley, a winless team from last year, who are currently 4-1 and ranked 13th in the state so far this season.
“We knew that when we put them on the schedule that they would be good,” Barker said of James Monroe. “We didn’t know that we would both be in the top 10. It’s still early in the season. We’re at the mid-point and there’s still a lot of football left to be played.”
The Tigers are in good shape at the mid-point of the season.
So far, the only setback has been a 48-45 Cardinal Conference loss to Herbert Hoover.
Chapmanville is looking to make it to the playoffs for the fourth straight season.
“We’ve played some pretty good football,” Barker said. “We did some things right defensively last week which enabled us to win the game at Logan. I think as the season progresses and we can stay healthy and keep everyone intact we’ll continue to get better defensively.”
Chapmanville is led by senior quarterback Josh Easterling, who has completed 46-of-84 passes (54.7 percent) on the season for 905 yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions.
The Tigers have one of the best one-two punches in the state with Jake Robinson and Dustin Botsch. Robinson has rolled up 1,039 yards on 87 carries on the season, for a hefty average of 11.9 yards per tote. Robinson ran for 249 yards last week against Logan and has 18 touchdowns and an additional 110 yards receiving. Botsch has 58 carries for 613 yards (10.6 ypc.) with 13 touchdowns and an additional 16 catches for 342 more yards.
Wide receiver Zach Maynard, one of Chapmanville’s two-way players, has six catches — four for touchdowns — for 269 yards — an average of 44.8 yards a grab.
James Monroe has a balanced attack and are led by senior quarterback Andrew Evans, senior wideout Joradan McKinney and junior tailback Matt Romanello.
Against Scott, Evans completed 11-of-14 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Half of his throws landed in the hands of McKinney, who finished with seven catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Evans also scored three touchdowns. Romanello added 118 yards and a score on 21 carries and had one catch for 23 more yards.
For Romanello, it was the fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing performance. He’s rushed for 695 yards on 96 carries for the season.
James Monroe also got contributions from sophomore tailback Micah Deskins who had 33 yards rushing and 32 yards receiving.
“We have a pretty good passing attack,” James Monroe coach Don Jackson told the Beckley Register-Herald after last week’s win. “We have a good quarterback in Evans and a good receiver in McKinney. They crowded the line of scrimmage. They had eight or nine guys up front. They invited us to throw the ball. We have a varied attack, and we just take what they give us.”
The Mavericks also own wins this season over Narrows (Va.) 46-8 in Week 1, Summers County 31-0 in Week 2, Oak Hill 34-13 in Week 3 and No. 3 Pikeview 23-0 in Week 4.
Barker said James Monroe has a solid team.
“They are extremely good up front,” he said. “They have a young running back who is very good and they also have a very adequate quarterback and receiver. They’ve been a running team basically but last week they opened up their passing attack and hurt Scott a whole lot with it. They’re a typical Wing-T type of football team. They beat you on execution and they are a team that will beat you on persistence. They never ever quit. They play as hard on the last snap as they do on the first snap.”
Barker said he’s glad that Robinson has finally made it to the Kennedy Award watch list. He’s on pace to rush for better than 2,000 yards this season. Robinson was named this week as the MetroNews State Player of the Week.
“Jake is a very humble kid. As he has said before he credits his offensive line,” Barker said. “It’s a complement to the team to have someone on there. That might be a first for us. He’s very deserving. I saw his numbers and he’s got better numbers than just about anybody else.”
Barker also had praise for Maynard, who played well on both sides of the ball last week at Logan.
On offense, he grabbed a 29-yard pass and led the Tiger defense. The 5-foot-6 defensive back led Chapmanville in tackles last week with eight and also had a sack and an interception.
Maynard’s late fourth quarter pick of Logan quarterback David Brown sealed the win for the Tigers.
“I thought Zach played the best game of his career last week,” Barker said. “He came up with some big plays on both sides of the ball when we needed it. He kind of baited them in when he got the interception. We were trying to give them looks all night long to get them to make some wrong reads and it worked for us. That time, he baited them into throwing the ball and he stepped right in and got it. It was a great play. It takes all of us to be a team.”
Last week, Chapmanville moved Tyler Cox from the secondary into linebacker.
“We had three sophomores in the secondary against Logan’s passing attack. And to do as well as we did speaks volumes about what our kids are doing,” Barker said.
Following the game with James Monroe, the Tigers return home to take on Class A county rival Man on Oct. 8 at Tiger Stadium. It will also be the annual homecoming game. With a win over Logan already under their belts, the Tigers can claim the county championship with a win over the Hillbillies.
Chapmanville then has an open date on Oct. 15 before hosting Tolsia on Oct. 22 and Wayne on Oct. 29 in Cardinal Conference home games. CRHS closes out the regular season Nov. 5 at Point Pleasant.