In recent years the Chapmanville Tigers have been kryptonite to the Man High School football team.
After dominating the matchup when the series resumed in 2000 with Man winning the first six games through ‘05, Chapmanville has won eight out of the last nine meetings, including last year’s 26-20 double-overtime thriller at a muddy Tiger Stadium.
This year’s clash might be the biggest and best ever.
Just look at these numbers.
Both teams are undefeated — Chapmanville at 6-0 and Man 5-0 — and since both have already beaten Logan this season the county championship will also be on the line.
No matter who is up or who is down, the Tigers have seemed to have the Billies’ number in the last decade.
Take last year.
Man went into the showdown 5-1 with hopes of running the table the rest of the way and hosting a first-round playoff game.
The Billies had a chance to win in regulation.
Man quarterback John Thomas Keffer rallied the Hillbillies and connected with Tyler Grimmett on a 63-yard touchdown pass to tie the game 20-20 with 21 seconds left in the game.
Man only needed an extra point kick to possibly win the game but the Billies, lacking a kicker last year, decided to go for two points but Keffer’s pass fell incomplete and the game would go to overtime — eventually — but not yet.
That’s because Chapmanville still had time on the clock.
Following the kickoff, the Tigers got good field position on their own 45-yard line. Chapmanville was able to move the ball to the Man 21-yard line.
With just two seconds left, Chapmanville lined up for a potential game-winning 38-yard field goal by Tanner Dillon but Dillon’s kick fell only a yard short and the game went to overtime.
Man was then foiled again.
The Billies had a chance to win in first OT after stopping Chapmanville in its first series of downs. It looked like Man would win but the Billies fumbled the ball away in the mud as Chapmanville recovered the sent the game into the second overtime.
The Tigers then won it in the second overtime with Dillon’s 1-yard burst into the end zone.
After the loss to Chapmanville, Man’s season began to unravel amid injuries to some of its top players.
The Billies would lose at home to Tug Valley on Halloween Night, then were upset by Van in the finale before falling again to Tug in a first round playoff game to finish with a 6-5 record.
The slide all started with the loss to the Tigers.
Back in 2009, Man’s masterpiece Super Six season, the Tigers were there to stymie the Billies once again.
The only loss during the regular season for Man was against … you guessed it.
The Chapmanville Tigers.
Chapmanville was able to win 16-14 over the Billies at a muddy Man football stadium. The Hillbillies would go on to finish 12-2, falling to Weirton Madonna 27-7 in the Class A state championship game at Wheeling Island Stadium.
The Tigers were also a 21-3 winner over Man in 2008 in another playoff season by the Billies, a season in which Man would beat Mount Hope (27-20) in an opening-round game before losing 21-16 at Williamstown in the Class A quarterfinals.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though, for the Hillbillies.
Two years ago in another playoff season by the Billies, Man won 26-22 at home over the Tigers.
Man went 6-0 over Chapmanville from 2000-05.
“It’s been a good series,” Man coach Harvey Arms said. “Not many of them have been lopsided games. When we were a bigger school we were on top some and here in the last few years they have been the bigger school and they have won more than we have. It’s been a good tradition to play them and it’s been a good series. Hopefully it will continue to be played for a long time.”
Going back to previous decades, especially in Man’s Tootie Carter era, the Hillbillies largely dominated the series with Chapmanville.
Carter led Man to three Class AA state championship games in 1977, 1980 and 1984. Coach Arms led Man to a fourth state final in 2009.
“I have a storied past when it comes to Man in playing them and coaching them. Back years ago, Chapmanville hadn’t beat Man in 20 years when I got back here in the 1980s,” Chapmanville coach George Barker said. “We had to play against Coach Carter and the team that went to the state championship. They handled us pretty good and the next year we upset them. Then 20 years later, I show up again and we managed to beat them again. There’s been a lot of lulls in there but it’s a good series.”
(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).