LOGAN — Whenever Chapmanville and Logan line up against each other on the football field, or play each other in any sport for that matter, you can expect a tense battle.
It’s a county rivalry and with the close proximity between the two schools, bragging rights are always on the line.
This year’s game, set for Friday night at Logan’s Willis Nisbet Stadium, has extra meaning for the Tigers, 4-3 overall and 4-3 in the Cardinal Conference.
Chapmanville, with last week’s slim 7-6 victory over winless Wayne, won its fourth straight game and put itself into the Class AA playoff picture. With remaining games against No. 15 Mingo Central and No. 5 Man to close out the season, it’s a must win game for the Tigers.
“We’ve turned it around after starting out 0-3,” Dial said. “A lot of teams would have failed to improve as much as we have. I think that hard work and effort has really paid off. That has happened because our kids continue to believe and show up each week and get better each week. I was proud of them with the win over Wayne last week. We knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy game. Normally you are not overly joyed to win a 7-6 game against a winless team but we were happy to get it. It was a big win and it’s one that we can build on.”
For Logan (1-6, 1-5), the Wildcats are hoping to get a win over Chapmanville and continue to build for next season with its young team. Logan was idle last week.
“I think Chapmanville is a real balanced football team on both sides of the ball,” Logan coach Jimmy Sheppard said. “A key of the game will be lining up correctly on defense and knowing your assignments because they throw so many formations at you.”
Jaxson Turner scored the lone touchdown for the Tigers last week against Wayne in the defensive struggle. Logan used its off week wisely last week.
“We got some extra practice in and worked on fundamentals,” Sheppard said. “The off week also allowed us to get some players back from injury. Caden Dotson is back but Chance Maynard is still out. Hunter Trent and Jordan Sparks are back. Cameron Hensley is back. He completely missed the Nitro game. He had been banged up the last three games. He had a big game in the Scott game and it was nice to have him back on both sides of the ball.”
Senior quarterback Chase Berry is 80 of 125 passing (64 percent) for 878 yards with nine touchdowns and two interceptions on the season. Berry is also the leading rusher for the Tigers with 100 carries for 580 yards and six TDs.
Fullback Josh Bumgarner has 77 carries for 373 yards and four scores.
Waylon Hensley has 33 catches for 484 yards and three TDs. Brody Dalton has 29 grabs for 298 yards and two scores.
On defense, Josh Atwood is Chapmanville’s top tackler with 54 total stops and two fumble recoveries. Bumgarner has 53 tackles and has also fallen on two fumbles. Caleb Whitt has 50 tackles and Turner has 38.
Evan Plumley has 36 total tackles, two sacks and a caused fumble. Nate Walsh has 36 tackles and three sacks. Elijah Stollings has 28 tackles and a sack.
Colby Collins has 39 tackles, a sack and a caused fumble. Hensley has 20 tackles and a team-high three interceptions. Alex Freeman has 24 tackles.
Kicker Xavier Trump is 7 of 9 in PATs, while punter Berry is averaging 33 yards per kick.
Logan is led by QB Jordan Hayes, who has completed 92 of 151 passes (60.9 percent) for 1,328 yards with 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
“They have a strong-armed quarterback and he throws the ball pretty far,” Dial said.
Troy Cowart is Logan’s leading rusher with 50 carries for 367 yards and a TD. He missed the Scott game two weeks ago. Sheppard says he is no longer with the team, however.
Aiden Slack has 196 yards and Hayes another 145 on the ground for Logan.
Corey Townsend is Logan’s top receiver with 35 catches for 623 yards and three TDs. Slack has 27 grabs for 452 yards and seven scores. Cameron Hensley has nine catches on the season for 156 yards. Dawson Maynard has reeled in 15 passes for 123 yards.
“They have a lot of good receivers with Townsend, Slack and Hensley,” Dial said. “They mix up a lot of groupings on offense. They are a tough team to prepare for. We have to take care of us and not get too caught up what they do. We’re going to run our offense and run our defense. At this point of the season you don’t change up a lot of X’s and O’s. You just go out there and play and see what happens.”
Dylan Adkins is the Cats’ top tackler with 51 stops. Slack has 50 and Kolton Goldie 46. Conner McGrew has 38 tackles, Hensley 35 and Caden Dotson 34.
Dial said Logan has good young talent.
“All of Logan’s freshman players had a lot of success at the middle school level,” he said. “They won a couple of conference championships. That young talent is now playing high school ball. They are getting better. They’ve improved on offense and defense. Their special teams play is very good, something that you don’t hear about a lot. Slack does a good job punting and kicking and they have good kick coverage. We’re going to have to play much better this Friday than last Friday to go up to Logan and win.”
Logan is hoping to win out in its final three games and close 4-6. The Cats finish with road games at winless Wayne and Herbert Hoover.
“We thought that our last five games were winnable but we lost to Nitro,” Sheppard said. “We had so many starters out in the Nitro game. Not having Hensley on the corner and not having Dotson really hurt us.”
At last Friday’s game, CRHS celebrated Futures Night as the teams from Chapmanville and Harts middle schools were honored as well as the youth league athletes.
“It was a great night in Chapmanville,” Dial said. “We have great men in those organizations with Coach Jones, Coach Browning, Coach Bender, Coach Pridemore and Travis Belcher. I’m really proud of our coaches from top to bottom. We appreciate all the jobs those men are doing.”
TIGERS VS. CATS RIVALRY: Chapmanville, winners of five straight over the Wildcats, lead 10-8 in the all-time series with Logan, which dates back to 2001.
DON’T CALL HIM SHIRLEY: The second Chapmanville/Logan game in 2002 had a special visitor.
It was Logan’s homecoming game and LHS was to have a special guest that day — Hollywood movie actor Leslie Nielsen — known for his comedic roles in the Naked Gun trilogy of movies and also Airplane! and numerous TV and movie roles. Nielsen was in town for the weekend as he was promoting bio fuels across the region.
Nielsen stayed in Logan all afternoon on game day, rode through downtown Logan on a homecoming float and stuck around to be the special guest at the Chapmanville-Logan football game at Logan Stadium. Nielsen greeted coach Barker on the sideline before the game and went to midfield with the Wildcat and Tiger captains and the referees to do the coin flip.
As far as anyone knows, no one called Nielsen “Shirley.” He did have a funny quip during the pregame flip.
“Leslie said, ‘Defer? Well the fur is going to fly tonight,’” Barker recalled.
Logan ended up beating Chapmanville 27-8 in the 2002 game.
Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. Follow him on Twitter at @PAdkinsBanner or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org