CHAPMANVILLE — Coming back from an injury is never easy.
Josh Atwood has certainly paid his dues, battling back from last year’s knee injury which was suffered in the Logan game.
Atwood, a linebacker, is back strong for his senior season and looks to lead the Chapmanville Regional High School football team’s defense.
He finished with 61 total tackles and two fumble recoveries last season before seeing his season cut short.
Chapmanville coach James Barker said he’s back strong and expects him to have a big year.
“Josh Atwood was our leading tackler going into the Logan game but he suffered an ACL injury in that game lat year,” Barker said. “He’s back and cleared 100 percent. He looks really good and I don’t know if he’s lost a step from that injury. So he’s probably going to be the main guy on the inside for us.”
Hunter Lambert also seems to have the nod as a starting inside linebacker for the Tigers.
“We had to replace Josh Bumgarner who was our other inside linebacker but we have Hunter Lambert who has been in our system now going into the fourth year,” Barker said.
Brady Rains, Charles Stallard and Tyson Thompson, a first year player and a CRHS baseball athlete, are other options at linebacker.
Both of the outside linebackers are back as well in Jaxson Turner and Caleb Whitt.
Whitt logged 72 tackles last year. Turner had 53 total stops.
Lance Scott also saw time at linebacker last season.
“We’ve got some depth there at linebacker and we’ve got some younger players coming in as well,” Barker said.
Barker also said he hopes to have linebacker Cole Farmer on the team this season. He did not play last year.
“He might be out and might not be out but he was a really good Harts football player two years ago,” Barker said. “He had some issues with his grades and we are trying to get him out this year. We feel like he adds another body at the outside linebacker position.”
In the defensive secondary, David Peluso is back.
“David Peluso is the only returning member of our secondary and he did a really good job last year,” Barker said. “We have to replace Alex Freeman who went to Concord to play. Waylon Hensley was our safety and we’ll have to replace him. Peluso is one of our best athletes on our team.”
Riley Ferguson, a sophomore, also figures into the Tigers’ plans.
“We have some younger guys who can step in and help us,” Barker said. “Riley Ferguson is a young sophomore that has shown some flashes in the summer.”
Jacob Toppings, Alex Miller, Fred Miller, freshman Brayden Lykins, and sophomore Parker Dingess are other members of Chapmanville’s secondary.
In the special teams, Chapmanville returns Atwood as its kicker and Peluso as the punter.
Colton Barker, Scott and Eli Pridemore are Chapmanville’s other punters.
The graduated Bumgarner was the Tigers’ long snapper the last four years since his freshman season but will have to be replaced. Brody Dalton will likely be his replacement.
Chapmanville is scheduled to begin its COVID-19 abbreviated season on September 18 at home against Nitro.