By Paul Adkins
CHAPMANVILLE — The Chapmanville Regional High School football team couldn’t have had any better a night on Friday as it christened its refurbished Tiger Stadium and the new Field Turf with a 30-6 win over the Sissonville Indians.
It was a mild upset of sorts and the wide margin of victory came to a surprise to many.
It might not have been the earth-shattering type of upset seen across the Cardinal Conference on Friday night as Tolsia went to Wayne and handed the Pioneers a 49-34 defeat but it was an upset nonetheless.
Sissonville was a playoff team last year in Class AA and headed into the new grid season ranked No. 9 in the state in the statewide media preseason poll.
The Tigers were just 4-6 last year and haven’t had a winning season since 2011.
The victory was a huge one for Chapmanville, which hadn’t beat the Indians in four years and erased last year’s 42-14 spanking last year at Sissonville.
Chapmanville, 1-0 overall and 1-0 in the Cardinal Conference, is off to a great start to the new season and with many big games ahead, the victory could go a long way as the Tigers will fight in the coming weeks to stay in the playoff picture.
Sissonville (0-1, 0-1), on the other hand, starts off the season behind the 8-ball.
The Tigers saw many big plays in the victory over the Indians on both sides of the ball.
The biggest was the Alex Berry to Jacob Dingess combo, which burned Sissonville all night long. Berry, a senior and the Cardinal Conference’s No. 1 passer last year, hooked up with Dingess on a pair of touchdown passes covering 7 and 9 yards. Dingess was last year’s top wide receiver in the conference.
Berry was 13-for-20 passing for 253 yards on the night. Dingess had nine catches for 172 yards.
Chapmanville then put the game away with a pair of touchdown runs by Tanner Dillon, covering 1 and 7 yards.
Dillon also had a rarity by kicking a 30-yard field goal to put the Tigers on top 3-0 in the first quarter.
Several Tigers also stepped up on defense as Chapmanville only allowed a single touchdown by the Indians.
All in all, it was a great night by the Tigers.
Chapmanville started off with an 0-3 record last year.
“It was a great way to open this stadium with the new turf,” Chapmanville coach George Barker said. “We played some pretty good football. We’re off to a little bit better start than we’ve had in the last couple of years. Every time that we’ve played Sissonville it’s a battle. We try to play as many kids as we can. I think that really helped us, especially in the second half when we played more kids. We played about 28 kids and that’s pretty good for a varsity football game.”
The Tigers led just 9-6 at the half but took it to the Indians in the final two quarters.
The second half started off with a bang as Austin Butcher had a 57-yard return on the kickoff, giving Chapmanville the ball at the Sissonville 14-yard line.
“I thought Butcher breaking that one set the tone for the second half,” Barker said.
Three plays later, Berry hit Dingess on a 9-yard touchdown pass. After Dillon’s extra point kick it was 16-6 Chapmanville with 11:06 to go in the third quarter.
Chapmanville came right back, and after a 57-yard pass from Berry to Dylan Smith, the Tigers were in business again.
Chapmanville QB Alex Berry tosses a 57-yard pass to Dylan Smith. (Video by Paul Adkins)
CRHS had to settle for a 34-yard field goal attempt by Dillon but the kick was partially blocked.
Chapmanville then took control.
The Tigers later went on a 9-play, 67-yard drive, capped off by a Dillon 1-yard TD plunge to increase the margin to 23-6 with 11:57 left in the game.
Chapmanville’s Tanner Dillon runs in for a 1-yard TD. (Video by Paul Adkins)
The drive got started with Berry’s 20-yard completion to Dingess. The two later hooked up for a 30-yard pass play to the 1-yard line.
Chapmanville Regional High School senior QB Alex Berry tosses a 30-yard pass to Jacob Dingess to the 1-yard line in Friday’s win at home. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Chapmanville then put the game away with 3:44 left on Dillon’s 7-yard touchdown run to make it 30-6.
The Tigers’ Tanner Dillon scores on a 7-yard touchdown. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Barker said Berry and Dingess were huge in leading CRHS to the win.
“If they can stay healthy they are going to be huge. He’s going to be hard to defend,” Barker said. “We just try to get him in situations where he’s one-on-one and we don’t think that you can guard him. Alex made some strikes to him. We had some big plays.”
Berry said it’s nice to have Dingess to throw to.
“We’ve been working hard every day at practice and that hard work is paying off,” he said. “Jacob is awesome and is a big playmaker. He does a great job out there. It has been like that for a while between us since our sophomore season. It was in our game plan throughout the week.”
Chapmanville went up 3-0 with 3:48 to go in the opening quarter as Dillon kicked a field goal. We was also 3-for-4 in his PAT’s. Dillon also had several kickoffs that bounced for long yards on the turf. Dillon only had one field goal attempt last year and CRHS went for the two-point conversions after every score.
The scoring drive was set up by a 61-yard jet sweep to wide receiver Ethan Thompson, who was making his football debut. Thompson, a member of the Chapmanville track team, showed off his sprinter’s speed as he raced around the end and churned down field all the way to the Sissonville 15-yard line.
Sissonville answered with QB Chance Brown’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Randy Parsons to go up 6-3 with 8:21 left until halftime. The conversion was no good as the holder was stopped short of the goal line on a fake.
The Tigers went back up 9-6 with 1:51 left until halftime as Berry tossed a 7-yard TD pass to Dingess. Dillon’s PAT attempt was blocked, his only extra point miss of the night.
Chapmanville will look to make it 2-0 on the season next Friday night as the Tigers head to Falling Rock for their first road game of the season against the conference foe Herbert Hoover Huskies. Hoover won 39-12 over Scott on Friday night.
It will be one of four away games this season that the Tigers will play on natural grass.
“The good thing about Hoover is that we will play it on natural grass. That’s about all that we have practiced on. We’re not used to the turf yet,” Barker said.
Chapmanville’s turf was only completed and ready for play last week. The Tigers scrimmaged Lincoln County last week at home on the new turf.
Austin Burford led the Indians with 117 yards on 19 carries, 101 of which came in the first half.
Thompson finished with two carries for 60 yards. Smith had three catches for 71 yards and a pair of rushes for two yards.
Dillon had 18 carries for 47 yards and two TDs. He also had one catch for 10 yards.
On defense, Ethan Neace led CRHS with eight solo tackles, two assists and a sack. Tim Bigley had seven solos, one assist and one sack. Butcher had six solos and two assists, while Jordan Whitt had six stops and one assist.
Andy Bias had five solo tackles and one sack. Ryan Craddock had five solos and four assisted stops.
Dillon had three tackles. He also punted three times for an average of 32 yards per kick.
Alex Oxley and Ricky Combs each had four solo tackles and two assists.
Philip Oxley had two solos and two assists. Smith, Billy Sheppard and Evan Willis each had two solos and one assist. Adam Vance and Thompson contributed two tackles each. Christopher Dalton and Dingess had one each.
Sissonville was penalized 13 times for 75 yards. CRHS had eight flags for 75 yards.
Tigers football notes
* The installation of the new Tiger Stadium Field Turf and across Logan County at Man and Logan high schools has caused increased excitement as the football season got under way on Friday night.
The three projects, which cost around $2.5 million, were funded by the Logan County Commission and the Logan County Board of Education.
On hand on Friday at Chapmanville for the field dedication were Logan County Schools Superintendent Phyllis Doty, Logan County Board President Jim Frye, Board Vice President Mark McGrew and other board member Debbie Mendez. Pat Joe White, another board member, was unable to attend.
* The new turf was expected to improve Chapmanville’s kicking game heading into the season. That was on full display as CRHS kicker Tanner Dillon booted a 30-yard field goal. Dillon made three PAT’s and also boomed a few punts.
Chapmanville football assistant coach and special teams coach Larry Dingess said the turf has helped his kickers, especially with their footing.
“The turf has helped us immensely,” Dingess said. “If you don’t come up and field a punt and if you let it go by you it’s going to bounce.”
That happened early in the game as one of Dillon’s kickoffs bounced hard and rolled all the way to the 2-yard line.
One of Dillon’s kickoffs, however, went out of bounds, giving Sissonville a first-and-10 at the 35-yard line. He also had a second field goal attempt and one of his four extra point kick attempts blocked.
“We’ll get that corrected this week,” Coach Dingess said of the mistakes.
Dillon’s 30-yarder was the first field goal kicked by a Chapmanville player since 2009 when Todd Terry booted one against Wayne.
“I thought our kicking game was better tonight,” Barker said.
Chapmanville and Sissonville captains meet at midfield with the referees for the pregame coin flip. (Video by Paul Adkins)
The Tigers take the field. (Video by Paul Adkins)
The CRHS players on the sideline during Friday night’s game. (Video by Paul Adkins)
The Chapmanville marching band plays before the game. (Video by Paul Adkins)