CHAPMANVILLE — What a difference a year makes.
One year ago going into the Poca game, the Chapmanville Regional High School football team was 0-3 and headed to the team’s third straight non-winning season.
Fast-forward to 2015 and the Tigers are going the opposite direction.
The right direction.
Chapmanville finds itself at 3-0 overall and 3-0 in the Cardinal Conference heading into Week 4 as the Tigers hit the road to take on the winless Poca Dots (0-3, 0-0) on Friday night at Poca High School’s O.O. White Stadium.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Tigers, ranked No. 5 in the state and tied with fellow conference team Tolsia in the WVSSAC’s Ratings, have a golden opportunity to go 4-0 and stay near the top of Class AA.
Chapmanville coach George Barker said it’s another big game for the Tigers and his team must not take the Dots lightly.
“It’s another Cardinal Conferene game for us,” Barker said. “We’re the only team to start off the season with four conference games. Any time you play anyone in our conference they are going to give you a quality game. We have to get ready to play and do our best win.”
Despite the 0-3 mark, Poca has shown some signs of improvement.
The Dots, which once won three straight Class AA state championships early in the 2000s decade, opened with a 39-14 loss at Class AAA rival Nitro, then lost 28-13 at home to Nicholas County before getting waxed by Single-A rival Buffalo last week, 47-8.
After competing pretty well in its first two games, the Dots were erased last week by the Bison.
Buffalo led 47-0 before Poca was able to avoid the shutout with Kaden Meeks’ 4-yard touchdown pass to Tanner Buchanan with 1:22 left in the game. Meeks then tacked on the two-point conversion run.
Poca was held to only 154 yards of total offense. Buffalo had 364 yards. The Dots had 34 rushes for just 97 yards. The Bison rolled up 265 yards on the ground on 42 attempts.
Brett Watts, Poca’s feature back, had seven carries for 44 yards. Meeks was 6-for-18 passing for 57 yards. Watts had a 46-yard punt return for a touchdown in the Nitro game. Meeks hit Matt Gibson with a 41-yard TD pass against Nitro.
Barker said the Dots are much improved despite the 0-3 mark. Poca was 0-10 last season and haven’t won a game in two years.
“They competed real well against two quality football teams in Triple-A Nitro and Nicholas County. Buffalo is a pretty good football team. They’re going to beat a lot of people in lopsided games,” Barker said. “Buffalo came out hot out of the gate and sometimes emotionally that takes you out of the game.”
Since joining the league, the Tigers are 7-1 all-time against the Dots and have won the last seven meetings.
In 2010 at Chapmanville, the Tigers beat the Dots in a memorable 69-66 shootout in a game which featured a combined 1,100 yards and a seven-touchdown performance by CRHS running back Jake Robinson. Poca had nearly 500 passing yards alone.
Most of the Poca-Chapmanville games have been close ones. In 2012, the Tigers won 34-31. The next year it was 34-33 Chapmanville.
“We’ve played Poca over the years and every time it seems to be one of those games where it could go either way,” Barker said. “We had to score in the last minute a couple of times to win it.”
Barker said the Dots have an unpredictable offense.
“They have a couple of really good receivers,” he said. “They throw the ball pretty decent. We have to defend the pass. Their tight end is their main target and they like to get the ball to him. They do run some and throw it. It’s a balanced attack and sometimes that’s hard to stop. When a team is one dimensional you try to take that away from them and make them do what they don’t want to do but with Poca, they are just as apt to throw it on first down. We have to prepare to get ready for that.”
The Tigers are coming off last week’s convincing 48-16 win at home over Scott and sit in first place in the conference standings, one-half game ahead of Tolsia which is 3-0, 2-0.
Chapmanville was led last week by senior QB Alex Berry who tossed six touchdown passes and was 14-of-18 passing for 317 yards and the six TDs.
Jacob Dingess reeled in touchdown passes of 23, 46, 46, 6 and 54 yards and had seven catches for 187 yards on the night.
Running back Tanner Dillon scored on a 1-yard touchdown run for the Tigers’ other score. He had 19 carries for 125 yards and was 4-for-6 in extra point kicks.
On defense, Ryan Craddock led the Tigers with eight tackles and four solos. Timmy Bigley had eight solos and two assists. Austin Butcher finished with seven solos and four assisted stops. Ricky Combs had six solos, three assists and one sack.
On the season, Berry is 42-of-61 passing (68.9 percent) for 730 yards with 10 TDs and just one interception. Dillon has 59 rushes for 301 yards and four TDs. Dingess has 20 catches for 395 yards and seven scores.
Bigley has 30 total tackles (combined solos and assists) on the season with a sack and a fumble recovery. Craddock has 29 tackles and Butcher 28 stops. Combs has 23 tackles and a sack. Jordan Whitt and Andy Bias each have 20 stops. Bias also has two sacks.
Dillon is 12-for-15 in extra point kicks and 2-for-3 in field goal attempts, including makes from 30 and 35 yards out.
Dillon, also the Tigers’ punter, is averaging 32.9 yards per kick.
Chapmanville beat Poca 34-14 last year at home.
The Dots are riding a 20-game losing streak heading into Friday night’s game. The last win by Poca was on Sept. 13, 2013 with a 32-28 win over Buffalo.
The losing skid then began the following week with a 34-31 loss at home to Chapmanville on Sept. 20, 2013.
Football Friday Night
WHAT: No. 5 Chapmanville (3-0, 3-0) at Poca (0-3, 0-0)
WHEN: Friday night, 7 p.m.
WHERE: O.O. White Stadium, Poca, W.Va.
SURFACE: Natural grass
LAST WEEK: Chapmanville won 48-16 over Scott … Poca lost 47-8 to Buffalo
INTERNET STREAM: www.chapmanvilletigers.tv
Chapmanville vs. Poca
Football Series Last 10 years
(Chapmanville leads 7-1)
2014: Chapmanville 34, Poca 14
2013: Chapmanville 34, Poca 31
2012: Chapmanville 34, Poca 33
2011: Chapmanville 37, Poca 13
2010: Chapmanville 69, Poca 66
2009: Chapmanville 30, Poca 26
2008: Chapmanville 28, Poca 12
2007: Poca 28, Chapmanville 14
2015 Chapmanville Regional
High School Football Schedule (3-0):
Aug. 28: Sissonville, W 30-6
Sept. 4: at Herbert Hoover, W 38-35
Sept. 11: Scott, W 48-16
Sept. 18: at Poca, 7 p.m.
Sept. 25: Logan, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2: Mount View, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 9: at Man, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 16: Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 23: at Tolsia, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 30: at Wayne, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 6: Bye week
TEAM CONF. ALL PF PA
Chapmanville 3-0 3-0 116 57
Tolsia 2-0 3-0 137 81
Mingo Central 1-1 2-1 134 59
Herbert Hoover 1-1 2-1 122 56
Wayne 1-1 1-2 91 133
Scott 0-2 1-2 68 121
Poca 0-0 0-3 35 114
Sissonville 0-3 0-3 34 113
Friday, September 18 games:
Chapmanville at Poca, 7 p.m.
Sissonville at Scott, 7:30 p.m.
Wayne at Oak Hill, 7:30 p.m.
Herbert Hoover at Tolsia, 7:30 p.m.
Mingo Central — BYE WEEK
Friday, September 11 games:
Chapmanville 48, Scott 16
Mingo Central 34, Sissonville 8
Point Pleasant 64, Wayne 8
Tolsia 44, Fairland (Ohio) 6
Herbert Hoover 48, River View 6
Buffalo 47, Poca 8
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1730, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).