CHAPMANVILLE — Back in the preseason, the Chapmanville Regional High School football team had some holes to fill in its defense.
With some new faces in some new places, the Tigers’ defense was kind of like a “no name” unit.
Chapmanville’s D, however, is standing tall and making a name for themselves.
The Tigers are 5-0 and ranked No. 4 in the state heading into tonight’s homecoming game against Mount View.
CRHS has allowed just 97 points on the season.
“It’s been a team effort. That’s the best way to say it,” Chapmanville coach George Barker said. “We’re playing team defense and we’ve got kids who are rallying to the football and are giving great efforts. A lot of the kids going into the season were kind of unknown so to speak. Now, they are starting to show their presence and their numbers are starting to show. I’m really pleased with the effort by the defense. One of those teams at one time had what they called a ‘no name defense.’ We’re a no-name defense, too, because we play just good overall team defense.”
Ryan Craddock leads the CRHS defense with 47 total tackles.
Timmy Bigley has 42 stops, a sack and a fumble recovery.
Austin Butcher has 45 tackles, including a blocked PAT kick last week in the 43-26 home win over Logan, while Andy Bias has 32 total stops with two sacks and two fumble recoveries.
“He’s a tremendous athlete,” Barker said of Butcher. “He got there so fast last week on the blocked kick that he had to stop and let him kick it. He played safety for us last year and we moved him up closer to the ball at linebacker and he’s just doing a great job for us.”
Ricky Combs has 33 total tackles and a sack, while Jordan Whitt has 27 tackles and Ethan Neace 20 stops with a sack and a forced fumble.
Alex Oxley, Tanner Dillon, Jacob Dingess, Dylan Smith, Philip Oxley, Adam Vance, Billy Sheppard and others have also contributed to Chapmanville’s defense.
Getting a leg up
Dillon has had a great season as Chapmanville’s kicker and punter. He’s 24-for-27 in extra point kicks and is 2-for-3 in field goals with makes from 30 and 35 yards, the latter being the game winner at Herbert Hoover earlier in the season.
Dillon is averaging 32.9 yards per punt.
Going into the season, Barker thought his special teams would be much stronger this fall.
He was right.
“He’s Mr. Consistency,” Coach Barker said of Dillon. “It’s nice to have a kicker because you never know what the situation will dictate. The fact that if you get down there and you bog down and you can still come away with three points in a close game that could be the difference between winning and losing.”
The weather is not looking good for tonight’s game.
Temperatures are expected to be in the low 50s at game time and there’s a 90 percent chance of rain.
With the new Field Turf at Tiger Stadium at least there will be no mud on the field. Coach Barker said the turf drains very well.
“I’m just concerned about the weather on Friday night because that might hamper us with our passing game. We have to make sure that we have a dry football,” Barker said. “It poured the rain on Tuesday and we went right out there and practiced. You couldn’t even have told that it had rained there on the surface.”
Around the conference
Three Cardinal Conference games are on tap tonight: Wayne (2-2, 1-1) at Mingo Central (3-1, 1-1); Tolsia (5-0, 3-0) at Sissonville (1-3, 1-3); and Herbert Hoover (2-2, 1-2) at Poca (0-5, 0-2).
Westside plays at Scott (2-3) in a non-conference game.
Chapmanville currently sits in first place in the league standings at 4-0. With a win tonight at Sissonville, Tolsia would go to 4-0 in league play and tie the Tigers for first. The two teams play each other later in the season at Glenhayes.
Coach Barker said he’s not surprised by the conference’s parity this fall.
“When we played in the (preseason Cardinal Conference) Grid I saw seven teams that looked pretty even,” he said. “That’s kind of played out. An injury or two makes a big difference in all high school teams. I think all the teams are pretty close and I wouldn’t count out any team on any given night.”
(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).