CHAPMANVILLE — The Mingo Central High School football team came to Chapmanville on Friday night and made a statement.
That statement was that the Miners are good.
Very very good.
Mingo Central, ranked No. 8 in the state in Class AA, put the hammer down on the unbeaten and No. 5-ranked Chapmanville Regional Tigers with a resounding 69-21 win at Tiger Stadium.
The win improved the Miners to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the Cardinal Conference.
Mingo Central, whose only loss this season was a Week 2 setback at Tolsia, 44-41, closes out the season with conference games against Scott and Herbert Hoover and a non-league closer against Westside.
The Miners hope to win them all, finish with a 9-1 record and host a first-round playoff game up on the mountain at Buck Harless Stadium.
Chapmanville, which entered the night tied for Tolsia for first place in the Cardinal Conference, dropped to 7-1, 4-1.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Tigers as their bottom-heavy schedule continues next Friday night at Tolsia (7-0, 5-0), before closing out in two weeks at Wayne, which is having a down year at 3-4 following Friday night’s 36-8 loss to Herbert Hoover. Tolsia remained undefeated and took sole possession of first place in the conference standings with Friday’s 34-16 win at Scott, Mingo Central’s opponent this coming Friday night.
Most people expected Friday night’s showdown to be a close game — maybe even a toss-up. It was even the Northside Automotive Metro News Class AA State Game of the Week.
But it wasn’t even close.
The Miners dominated the game in the trenches, and pounded Chapmanville’s defense with a quick-paced and relentless rushing attack. Led by quarterback Stevie Hammond and tailbacks Deonte Joplin and Caleb Lester, Mingo Central rolled up 717 yards of total offense, including more than 500 yards on the ground.
“We came over here and got after it really good,” Mingo Central coach Yogi Kinder said. “Chapmanville has a good team but we made them do some things tonight that they haven’t done before. Their quarterback is pretty good and they have a couple of good receivers. We put some pressure on them and rocked the fire out of them.”
Chapmanville coach George Barker said the Miners were very good.
“We just weren’t ready for that game speed,” Barker said. “They’re pretty good but we just didn’t play well. We were avoiding contact and did some things that we haven’t been doing. That has a lot to do with them. They were very aggressive and I told them all week long that they are good on both sides of the ball. We weren’t ready for that type of action.”
Barker said the Miners are hands down the best team CRHS has faced this fall.
“That’s the best football team that we’ve played,” he said. “We’re going to see it again next week at Tolsia. That’s why we wanted to play four quarters and I am glad that we played at that level. We left them in for four quarters. We made some adjustments to that tough, fast pace.”
Hammond scored four first half touchdowns on runs of 1, 20, 4 and 4 as the Miners led 42-7 at halftime. Hammond also fired two TD passes — a 72-yarder to Taylor Thornsbury and a 17-yard strike to former Man High School player Daniel Buchanan.
Hammond was 8-for-15 passing for 203 yards on the night.
Joplin scored two touchdowns in the first quarter on runs of 20 and 73 and finished the first half with 214 yards on just eight carries. He didn’t play in the second half due to a reported twisted ankle.
Lester had two touchdowns on runs of 1 and 20 for the Miners and finished with 20 carries for 181 yards. Hammond had another 61 yards rushing on nine attempts. Thornsbury had five totes for 45 yards.
The Miners also held Chapmanville to just 222 yards of total offense and outgained the Tigers 514-60 on the ground.
“They couldn’t stop nothing,” Kinder said of the Tigers’ defense. “Joplin had 200 yards but twisted his ankle. I think that we scored every time we had it except for the last drive. Our kids have been working hard. We’ve had a lot of injuries but people keep stepping up. That’s what good teams do.”
Mingo Central went up 6-0 at the 8:20 mark of the first quarter with Joplin’s 20-yard TD run. Jeremy Harrison’s extra point kick was no good.
Chapmanville, led by quarterback Alex Berry, then looked to answer right back, as the Tigers took its second drive all the way to the Mingo Central 23-yard line. Berry’s first-down pass, however, was picked off by former Man player Tyler Grimmett at the 5 and returned all the way to the 27.
Joplin then took it to the house on the very next snap, dashing in for a 73-yard score at the 4:50 mark as the Miners led 12-0.
The Tigers then gave Mingo Central good field position after a 13-yard shanked punt by Tanner Dillon at the CRHS 46-yard line.
Five plays later, Hammond scored from 1 yard out. Hammond then ran in the two-point conversion and Mingo Central led 20-0 at the 1:43 mark of the first quarter. The touchdown was set up by a nifty 18-yard run by Joplin to the 3.
On the Miners’ next possession, Mingo Central looked to pad its lead but Joplin fumbled the ball away at the Chapmanville 9 after a run of 71 yards. Dylan Smith recovered for the Tigers.
Chapmanville’s drive stalled, however, as Berry was sacked by Mingo Central’s Dalton Fields.
Four snaps later, the Miners were into the end zone again with Hammond’s 20-yard keeper for a touchdown as MCHS led 26-0 with 7:20 left until halftime.
The Miners scored again on their next drive with Hammond’s 4-yard keeper at the 3:37 mark. Hammond passed to Isaac Fox on the two-point conversion as the lead swelled to 34-0.
Chapmanville had to punt again and after a 42-yard return by Thornsbury to the Tiger 23-yard line, the Miners were in business again.
Hammond scored on the third play of the drive with 4-yard TD run. Thornsbury tacked on the conversion run and Mingo Central led 42-0 with 1:34 left until halftime.
“Hammond is a good leader and I wouldn’t trade him for anybody in this conference,” Kinder said. “He’s tough and when the game is on the line he’s who you want to have in there. He could be our best running back.”
Chapmanville got on the board four snaps later with Berry’s 30-yard touchdown pass to Smith. After Dillon’s successful PAT it was 42-7.
Mingo Central kept its high-octane offense in high gear in the second half, marching 62 yards in seven plays on its opening drive, culminating with Lester’s 1-yard TD dive, giving the Miners a 49-7 lead with 10:02 in the third following Harrison’s kick.
Then on the third play of its next drive, Mingo Central scored yet another touchdown with Hammond’s 72-yard touchdown pass to Thornsbury to make it a 56-7 ballgame with 6:48 showing on the clock. Harrison’s PAT was again good.
Lester then gave the Miners a 62-7 lead with 1:52 to go with a 20-yard run. Harrison’s point after boot sailed wide right.
Chapmanville was able to save a little face with Berry’s 13-yard TD pass to Noah Dingess with 10:58 left in the game to make it 62-14. Dillon’s extra point kick split the uprights.
Mingo Central then closed it out with 4:50 to go as Hammond tossed a 17-yard TD pass to a leaping Buchanan in the end zone. Harrison’s kick was good as the Miners led 69-14.
The Tigers scored one more touchdown with 3:31 left with Dillon’s 2-yard run and PAT as the game ended 69-21 in favor of Mingo Central.
“That’s the first time that we’ve face adversity like that,” Barker said. “We were down two scores and we had a chance to go in but we threw an interception and we seemed to hang our heads. That took us out of the game emotionally. We have to play with emotion.”
Barker said the Miners have improved.
“This isn’t the same team that played earlier in the year against Tolsia,” he said. “They are much better. I’m hoping that we learn from tonight and get better. We still have a chance at winning the conference in a three-way tie. Let’s just regroup, try to get better and do what we’re supposed to do.”
Dalton Sheppard finished with three catches for 55 yards. Stephen Whitt had two grabs for 45 yards, while Grimmett had a 14-yard catch and Buchanan the 17-yard TD grab.
Corey Blankenship led the Mingo Central defense with nine tackles and two sacks. Ethan Collins had six tackles.
Berry was 14-of-23 passing for 166 yards with one TD and one interception.
Noah Dingess had three catches for 26 yards for CRHS. Billy Sheppard had two catches for 14 yards. Jacob Dingess reeled in eight passes for 96 yards.
Dillon had 18 carries for 69 yards and a score.
Thompson had two rushes for 16 yards.
Dillon led the Chapmanville defense with nine solo tackles and two assists. He punted eight times for an average of 35.3 yards per boot.
Timmy Bigley had seven solos and four assists.
Austin Butcher had five solos and two assists, while Ryan Craddock and Andy Bias each had five tackles and three assisted stops.
Ricky Combs had four solos and two assists.
Alex Oxley and Ethan Neace both had three solos and two assists. Jordan Whitt contributed three tackles and one assist. Jacob Dingess also had three stops.
Adam Vance had two solos and one assist. Smith had two tackles and a fumble recovery.
Thompson and Blake Dalton each had a tackle and an assist. Chris Dalton and Kobe Meade both had a tackle.
The Miners were penalized 15 times for 143 yards. The Tigers had 12 flags for 105 yards.
The win over Chapmanville puts the Miners into position to win out and host a first-round playoff game.
“We’ve got three big games left. We’ve got a big game next week,” Kinder said. “We’re very capable of coming out and not playing. That’s the way that it was early but our last three or four games we just keep getting better and better. We’ve got some good young coaches. We’ve got thre games left and if we play hard we can be 9-1 and that would be pretty good.”
* Chapmanville Regional baseball coach Eric Ellis was honored before the game. Ellis was named as the 2015 West Virginia State Baseball Coach of the Year and did the pre-game coin flip.
Ellis led the CRHS baseball team to the Class AA state championship game this past June.
TEAM CONF. ALL PF PA
Tolsia 5-0 7-0 260 118
Mingo Central 4-1 6-1 377 136
Chapmanville 4-1 7-1 309 200
Herbert Hoover 4-2 5-2 273 158
Wayne 2-3 3-4 235 244
Scott 1-4 2-5 178 306
Sissonville 1-5 2-5 107 188
Poca 0-4 0-7 118 365
Friday, October 16 results:
Mingo Central 69, Chapmanville 21
Tolsia 34, Scott 16
Herbert Hoover 36, Wayne 8
Sissonville 13, Clay County 12
Poca — BYE WEEK
Friday, October 23 games:
Logan at Sissonville, 7:30 p.m.
Chapmanville at Tolsia, 7:30 p.m.
Scott at Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
Wayne at Poca, 7:30 p.m.
Roane County at Herbert Hoover, 7:30 p.m.