CHAPMANVILLE — The Chapmanville Regional High School football team has done a complete 180.
Long forgotten is the Week 1 disappointment when the Tigers trailed Sissonville by three touchdowns at halftime and fell into a 40-6 hole before losing 40-22.
Chapmanville is right back in the swing of things after rallying back from an 18-8 decifit at Herbert Hoover in Week 2 to win 24-18 and then last week when the Tigers scored a 20-13 victory over rival Scott.
At 2-1, the No. 10-ranked Tigers still have seven games left to play in the regular season but Chapmanville is right where they want to be.
Chapmanville hopes to get another win on Friday night as the Tigers, also 2-1 in the Cardinal Conference, head up to the Kanawha Valley to take on the Poca Dots (1-2, 0-0).
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. at Poca High School’s O.O. White Stadium in Poca.
The two teams have already met so far this season.
Back on Aug. 17 at the preseason Cardinal Conference Gridorama at Mingo Central’s Buck Harless Stadium, Chapmanville defeated the Dots 6-0 on a touchdown by Devin Wiley. The junior running back was denied a second score after he fumbled the ball before crossing the plain of the goal line.
Poca comes into the game after winning 32-28 last week at Class A Putnam County rival Buffalo. It was the first victory of the season for the Dots, which lost 41-22 at Class AAA Nitro in the opener and then fell 21-14 at home to Nicholas County in Week 2.
Chapmanville leads the series 5-1 since joining the Cardinal Conference in the mid-2000s. Poca won the first meeting 28-14 in 2007 but the Tigers have won the last five games, including last year’s 34-33 thriller at Tiger Stadium.
The two teams met in an epic showdown in 2010 — a game which was won by Chapmanville in an Arena Football-like 69-66 score. The game had more than 1,100 yards of combined offense and had Chapmanville’s Jake Robinson scoring a school record seven touchdowns and rushing for 408 yards.
Chapmanville hopes to take care of the Dots on Friday and go to 3-1 overall and 3-1 in the conference. For Poca, it’s the first league game of the season.
“We’re happy where we are at 2-1 after three weeks,” Chapmanville coach George Barker said. “We played Poca a month ago in the preseason and a lot of things change. We know that it’s going to be tough to win against another Cardinal Conference foe. Last year it went to overtime. A few years ago there was almost 140 points scored. We know that it’s going to be a tough game and we just have to be ready to play.”
The Tigers were led last week by Wiley, who rushed for 133 yards on 26 carries. Quarterback Alex Berry was 4-for-8 passing for an even 100 yards and two TDs — a scoring strike each to Brady Cox and Zac Casto. Cox had two catches for yards. Casto reeled in two passes for 37 yards.
Running back Paul Workman carried the ball 16 times for 49 yards and also had a TD and two-point conversion.
On defense, Nick Brumfield had eight solo tackles and three assists to lead CRHS. Casto finished with eight tackles and one assisted stop.
Chapmanville led Scott 8-0 at halftime and led 14-7 with Berry’s 42-yard touchdown pass to Cox. Berry then fired a 13-yard strike to Casto as the lead swelled to 20-7.
The Skyhawks got back in it at 20-13 with a 55-yard TD run by Cameron Loftus but could get no closer as Chapmanville’s defense rose to the challenge late in the fourth quarter.
Barker said last week’s victory over Scott surprised some people given the Skyhawks blowout over the Tigers in 2012.
“I don’t think very many people thought that we could play with Scott,” Barker said. “But we had beaten Hoover which beat them. We pulled it out in the fourth quarter. Those are things that could make your season successful.”
On the season, Berry has completed 23-of-43 passes for 307 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions.
Wiley is Chapmanville’s leading rusher with 61 carries for 329 yards and a score. Workman has 53 rushes for 185 yards and two TDs.
Cox has 10 catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns to lead Chapmanville’s receiving corps. Casto has reeled in six passes for 89 yards and three scores.
On defense, Brumfield leads the Tigers with 20 solo tackles and five assists. Matt Dingess and Casto each have 19 solos and five assists. Cox and Tanner Dillon have 14 tackles each. Nate Ramey has 13 stops and seven assisted tackles.
Brumfield, a pitcher on the Chapmanville baseball team, has come out for football his senior season and has been a big help from his linebacker post.
“Nick didn’t start the first game but he’s one of the factors that has made our defense better,” Barker said. “We’re real pleased with Nick and he brings a little bit of fire and attitude to our defense.”
Barker said his defense as a whole has stepped up.
“We have played well defensively the last two weeks,” he said. “The first two scrimmage games we played well defensively but we didn’t in the opener. If we can get them in the right place pre-snap we think that we have a chance.”
Caleb Browning has punted 11 times this season and has an average of 33.2 yards a boot.
Poca comes into Friday night’s game also hungry for another win to even up its season record. The Dots’ football program has been in relative decline since winning three straight Class AA state championships from 2001-03.
Since winning the three state titles, Poca has recorded just one winning season in the last nine years when the Dots were 8-4 in 2006.
Poca was 2-8 last year, 4-6 in 2011, 5-6 in 2010, 3-7 in 2009 and 2-8 in 2008. The Dots suffered a 4-6 season in 2007 after making it to the playoffs in 2006.
The Dots were able to pull off a win over winless Buffalo (0-3) last week at Bison Field. Poca, playing with a mix of experienced and new players at the skilled positions, rallied from a 10-point second quarter deficit. The Dots used four different running backs to grind down the Buffalo defense.
“We basically made some big plays in the fourth quarter,” Poca veteran coach Bob Lemley told the Charleston Gazette. “We moved some guys around at halftime on defense and I challenged our guys to play with more enthusiasm and more effort and I believe that showed in the second half.”
Despite the win, Poca’s defense allowed Buffalo running back Jordan Tucker to roll up 313 yards rushing on 34 attempts.
Poca led 6-0 early after an 18-yard TD run by just quarterback Justin Stewart. He then scored another touchdown on a 15-yard run with nine and a half minutes to play in the game. Stewart finished the night with 141 yards rushing and four touchdowns and was 4-for-7 passing with one interception.
Chapmanville met up with Stewart back in August in the Cardinal Conference Gridorama and were able to put a lot of pressure on the Dots’ signal-callier, collapsing the pocket and forcing him to run.
“Everything revolves around their quarterback,” Barker said of the Dots. “We just have to play assignment defense and keep an eye on where he is. He runs well and throws well.”
Poca must be able to play better rush defense this week. Chapmanville, with the speedy Wiley in the backfield, hope to run wild.
“We’ll just take what we get and do what we do and hopefully we will be successful at it,” Barker said. “We won’t make any drastic changes.”
Poca also got 70 yards rushing on 12 carries and a touchdown from T.T. Loudin in the Buffalo game. Stewart also fired a 27-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Gibson, who caught all of Poca’s four pass completions for 141 yards.
For the game, Poca had 41 rushes for 198 yards. Buffalo rolled up 380 yards on the ground on 52 carries. The Dots bested the Bison in the air 141-35 yards.
* When Chapmanville plays at Poca on Friday night it will mark the fourth Cardinal Conference game to open the season. The Tigers’ non-conference foes (Logan, James Monroe and Man) come later in the season. Chapmanville meets new conference team Mingo Central also later on.
CRHS coach George Barker said Poca has a rich football history with the 3-peat state championship teams from 2001-03.
“If you look at the history of the teams that we’ve played, Poca had as many state championships as anyone in the 2000s,” Barker said.
* Barker said sophomore lineman Ricky Combs hurt his knee last week and could miss the Poca game.
“We’ve got some bumps and bruises but Ricky Combs hurt his knee. We don’t know how bad that it is. We’ll just have to wait and see,” he said.
Caleb Browning also has a bruised sternum, Barker said.
“We’ve got three our four kids hurt but nobody’s on the shelf yet,” he said. “It’s day to day.”
* Chapmanville’s only loss this season was to Sissonville, a team that is 3-0 and ranked No. 5 in the state in Class AA in this week’s WV Metro News Power Index. The Indians look to be for real after hammering Tolsia 56-0 last week.
Sissonville (3-0, 2-0), ranked No. 2 in the state in this week’s WVSSAC Computer Ratings, has a one game lead ahead of Wayne (2-0, 1-0) for first place in the Cardinal Conference standings.
Wayne, the back-to-back Class AA state champions, was idle last week. The Pioneers are ranked No. 1 in the power index and seventh in the WVSSAC ratings.
Chapmanville-Poca Football Series
since 2000 (Chapmanville leads 5-1):
2012: Chapmanville 34, Poca 33
2011: Chapmanville 36, Poca 13
2010: Chapmanville 69, Poca 66
2009: Chapmanville 30, Poca 26
2008: Chapmanville 28, Poca 12
2007: Poca 28, Chapmanville 14