CHAPMANVILLE — As George Barker has said many times as you keep winning the games keep getting bigger and bigger.
The undefeated Tigers (7-0 overall and 4-0 in the Cardinal Conference) have their biggest game to date on Friday night as the Mingo Central Miners (5-1, 3-1) come to Chapmanville to face the Tigers at Tiger Stadium on Senior Night.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
The game has playoff implications and conference title ramifications written all over it.
Both teams are fighting for home playoff advantage for the upcoming post-season and both teams still have Cardinal Conference championship aspirations.
Chapmanville is coming off last week’s dramatic 35-28 win at county rival Man. The Tigers won it in the closing seconds with quarterback Alex Berry’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Noah Dingess which broke a 28-all tie.
Mingo Central, coached by Yogi Kinder, had no problem at winless Poca as the Miners crushed the Dots 71-16.
Friday night’s showdown looks to be a toss-up and at lot will be at stake.
“Our games just keep getting bigger and bigger,” Coach Barker said. “The level of play will be about as good as it gets and that’s the way that it’s going to be the rest of the year. The rest of our games are all playoff-caliber games. It will be a great atmosphere. I just hope that we can compete. They are pretty good but we’re glad to be in this position and they have played themselves to get to this position where the games will mean something.”
Chapmanville has never beaten Mingo Central in the two school’s brief football series. The Tigers lost 20-14 to the Miners in 2013 and were soundly thrashed by the Miners, 53-6, last year on top of the mountain at Buck Harless Stadium — a game in which returning Chapmanville players have never forgotten.
“You never know what motivates young people,” Barker said. “But I think this year, the game itself is all that they need. I don’t think they need to reflect on the past. The only thing they need to do is focus on what is right in front of them and who they are going to block and who they are going to tackle.”
It’s another tough game for the Tigers, which continue in their bottom-heavy schedule. Next week, Chapmanville hits the road to play at undefeated Tolsia. Then on Oct. 30, the Tigers continue their Wayne County road trip with a game at the down-but-not-out Wayne Pioneers.
Chapmanville is off in Week 11 on Nov. 6 before the Tigers’ playoff game either Nov. 13 or 14.
Already with seven wins, the Tigers have all but locked up their first post-season bid since 2011.
Chapmanville, though, is hungry for more wins and a better playoff seed.
Beating Mingo Central will not be easy.
As always, the Miners are loaded in the skilled positions and in the trenches.
Mingo Central is led by quarterback Steven Hammond, who passed for 181 yards and three touchdowns last week. Heading into last week’s game, Hammond was the Cardinal Conference’s second-best passer behind Berry with 46-for-81 completions for 930 yards with nine TDs and two picks. Hammond played last week with an injured left hamstring sustained in the Oct. 2 game vs. Wayne.
The Miners’ feature running back is Deonte Joplin, who rushed seven times for 142 yards and three TDs in the win over the Dots.
Garret Clevenger and Caleb Lester also had two rushing touchdowns apiece last week.
Mingo Central also has a pair of Man High School transfers, Tyler Grimmet and Daniel Buchanan. Grimmett reeled in a 53-yard touchdown catch from Hammond last week. Grimmett was the second-best receiver in the Cardinal behind Chapmanville’s Jacob Dingess heading into last week with 11 catches for 375 yards and three TDs. Grimmett had been averaging 34.1 yards per catch.
Dalton Sheppard and Stephen Whitt also had touchdown grabs last week.
The Miners rolled up 582 yards of total offense, including 401 on the ground and held the Dots to only 228 total yards.
Lester led the Miners in tackles last week with five. Ethan Collins, Buchanan and Luke Heft all had one sack. Heft and Thomas Harmon each had one interception.
Mingo Central lost starting fullback Joe Hunt for the season a couple of weeks ago due to injury.
The Miners, like Chapmanville, also have a good kicker in Jeremy Harrison.
Mingo Central led Poca 71-0 last week before the Dots were able to put up a pair of touchdowns and two-point conversions late in the game.
“Defense played good, offense played good,” Miners coach Yogi Kinder told the Charleston Gazette-Mail. ‘We didn’t come to score 71 points. The other guys played good the second half.”
The Miners’ only loss to date was a 44-41 setback at Tolsia in Week 2. MCHS opened with a 59-7 win at home over Wyoming East. The Miners also have wins over Sissonville (34-8), Class AAA Nitro (53-26) and Wayne (50-14).
After playing the Tigers, Mingo Central has league games with Scott and Herbert Hoover and a matchup at Westside in the finale on Nov. 6.
Barker said the Miners are very good.
“They have no weaknesses,” he said. “And I think that’s what makes them so good. They’re good up front, they are good in the skilled positions and they are good on both sides of the ball. That just sums them up. They have no weaknesses and they are a really good football team.”
The Tigers are led by Berry, who has completed 90-of-138 passes for a league-leading 1,420 yards this season with 19 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Tanner Dillon is Chapmanville’s top back with 136 carries for 692 yards and 11 TDs. Dylan Smith has another 39 tries for 341 yards and four scores.
Jacob Dingess has a conference-leading 46 catches for 757 yards and 11 touchdowns. Smith has 19 grabs for 342 yards and three TDs, while Noah Dingess has 16 catches for 248 yards and three TDs. Billy Sheppard has reeled in eight passes for 111 yards and two scores.
Several CRHS players have been key to Chapmanville’s defense.
Tim Bigley has a team-best 65 total tackles (46 solos and 19 assists) with a sack and a fumble recovery.
Ryan Craddock has 63 total tackles, while Austin Butcher has 61 tackles, three sacks, a blocked kick and a forced fumble.
Andy Bias checks in with 50 total tackles, three sacks and two fumble recoveries.
Ricky Combs has 49 stops and a trio of sacks, while Ethan Neace has 45 tackles, three sacks, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.
Jordan Whitt has 30 tackles and Alex Oxley 34 stops with three sacks and a fumble recovery.
Dillon, also the Chapmanville kicker and punter, has made 32-of-36 extra point kicks and is 2-for-3 in field goals. He has punted 14 times for an average of 33.8 yards per kick.
Football Friday night
WHAT: No. 8 Mingo Central (5-1, 3-1) at No. 5 Chapmanville (7-0, 4-0), CRHS Senior Night
WHEN: Friday night, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Tiger Stadium, Chapmanville, W.Va.
SURFACE: Field Turf
LAST WEEK: Chapmanville won 35-28 at Man … Mingo Central won 71-16 at Poca.
RADIO: Coal Country WXCC 96.5 FM, Williamson, W.Va.
INTERNET STREAM: www.chapmanvilletigers.tv
Chapmanville vs. Mingo Central
All-Time Football Series
(Mingo Central leads 2-0)
2014: Mingo Central 53, Chapmanville 6
2013: Mingo Central 20, Chapmanville 14
2015 Chapmanville Regional
High School Football Schedule (7-0):
Aug. 28: Sissonville, W 30-6
Sept. 4: at Herbert Hoover, W 38-35
Sept. 11: Scott, W 48-16
Sept. 18: at Poca, W 55-14
Sept. 25: Logan, W 43-26
Oct. 2: Mount View (Homecoming), W 39-6
Oct. 9: at Man, W 35-28
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 4-0 7-0 288 131
Tolsia 4-0 6-0 226 102
Mingo Central 3-1 5-1 308 115
Herbert Hoover 3-2 4-2 237 150
Wayne 2-2 3-3 227 208
Scott 1-3 2-4 162 272
Sissonville 1-5 1-5 94 176
Poca 0-4 0-7 118 365
Friday, October 16 games:
Mingo Central at Chapmanville, 7:30 p.m.
Tolsia at Scott, 7:30 p.m.
Wayne at Herbert Hoover, 7:30 p.m.
Clay County at Sissonville, 7:30 p.m.
Poca — BYE WEEK
Friday, October 9 results:
Chapmanville 35, Man 28
Mingo Central 71, Poca 16
Wayne 58, Scott 12
Herbert Hoover 37, Sissonville 20
Tolsia — BYE WEEK
(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).