CHAPMANVILLE — Many football games are won up front down in the trenches.
The big boys up front do all the dirty work, blocking and opening holes for the running backs and giving protection to the quarterback.
They are the unsung heroes of football.
No stats are ever in the box scores for blocking but linemen are the key to a football team’s success.
Chapmanville Regional High School hopes to use its strength on the offensive line to put together a successful fall football season.
If the season can only get going.
The Tigers are scheduled to open the season on September 18 at home against the Nitro Wildcats. Chapmanville’s first three games were canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.
Practices were scheduled to begin for the Tigers and Logan County teams on Monday.
Three starters return on Chapmanville’s offensive line in Evan Plumley, Chris Samson and Benji Crouse.
“We return three out of our five starters,” Chapmanville first-year coach James Barker said. “And we also have another kid who has played some and has some experience. So sometimes we call it three and a half starters.”
JT Craddock also started some last year on the O-line and is back.
“JT Craddock was a center last year and came in and played for us some at the varsity level,” Barker said. “Those guys all have experience.”
Nathan Walsh and Colby Collins, backups a year ago, give Chapmanville some depth in the trenches.
“We have some backups who return who got into the game a lot and played some on the offensive line last year in Nathan Walsh and Colby Collins,” Barker said. “We are really high on our line this year. We feel like this might be one of the strongest groups that we have and one of the biggest groups that we’ve had in a while. We have a couple of younger kids who are probably going to step in there as well and help us.”
Brady Dalton, Gabe Silva and Elijah Adkins are three other CRHS linemen who could step in.
“We feel like they could help us as well,” Barker said. “Elijah is a senior and we think he can give us some reps this year.”
Freshman RJ Jones, the son of Chapmanville Middle School coach Ron Jones, is also expected to contribute on the offensive line.
“We have a freshman, RJ Jones, who is Coach Ron Jones’ son,” Barker said. “He wants to play tight end. He’s done just about everything that has been asked of him in the summer. He was a tight end early on and we were down a couple of linemen later in the week and he jumped in there with one group and snapped. He’s a fullback too. He’s going to find a way to get on the field somehow some way.”
Chapmanville’s defensive line is also experienced and solid.
“Those same guys will be on the D-line for us,’ Barker said. “We return every starting defensive lineman from last year. Nathan Walsh, Colby Collins are back on the inside. Elijah Stollings and Evan Plumley are the two defensive ends. We may move some kids around some and we may substitute a little more this year with our D-linemen to keep them fresh because we weren’t able to practice in the first week. We are going to be behind everybody in conditioning so we are going to try to keep as many fresh bodies on the offensive and defensive line as possible and we feel like we have the personnel to do that.”