CHAPMANVILLE — If the Chapmanville Regional High School football team is to have any success against Robert C. Byrd this weekend in the Class AA playoffs the Tigers will have to figure out a way to shore up its defense.
No. 8-ranked Chapmanville (7-3) is scheduled to host No. 9 Robert C. Byrd (7-3) on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 at Tiger Stadium in its 2A playoff opener.
The Tigers go into the game off last week’s bye week but enter the playoffs on a three-game losing skid.
Chapmanville’s defense has surrendered 69, 76 and 54 points in its last three games in losses to Mingo Central, Tolsia and Wayne after playing very well in its first seven contests.
The Tigers will have to step up their defense against a very good RCB team which features a potent offense led by running back Juwan Jones-Wright, quarterback Julian Marino and a host of other top skilled position players.
Jones-Wright rushed for 377 yards on just 23 carries and scored four touchdowns in a win over North Marion as he set the school’s single game rushing mark.
In a win over Lincoln, Jones-Wright had 202 yards on the ground on 24 carries and scored three touchdowns.
Marino completed 8-of-14 passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Philip Barbour.
RCB comes into the game on a three-game winning streak. The Eagles won 42-6 at Philip Barbour last Friday night and also prevailed over North Marion (56-26) on Oct. 23 and beat playoff-bound Lincoln (35-14) on Oct. 30.
Chapmanville coach George Barker said the Tigers will be challenged by the Eagles.
“They are a real good football team,” Barker said. “They remind me a lot of Tolsia and Mingo Central. They have a really good running attack. They sprinkle in enough passes and have good receivers and a good QB to make for a dangerous offense. They are similar to us. The only losses they have are to teams that are above them. They’ve also got victories over teams behind them.”
Barker said Jones-Wright is a talented running back.
“He goes about 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds,” Barker said of Jones-Wright. “He looks like Jerome Bettis back there. They give the ball to him and he finds the seams. He runs over, around and through people. He’s very good.”
The Eagles opened the season with a 24-13 loss at Fairmont, then rebounded in Week 2 with a 51-7 win at Liberty Harrison. RCB then won 41-14 at home over Frankfort on Sept. 11, then lost 48-21 at home to No. 1-ranked and defending state champion Bridgeport.
Week 5 on Sept. 25 produced a 42-0 victory at home over Grafton. RCB then won 48-24 on Oct. 9 at East Fairmont, before losing the following week at Keyser, 35-21.
Chapmanville is making its first trip to the playoffs in four years after 4-6, 5-5 and 4-6 seasons.
This is also the Tigers’ first home playoff game in seven years and first home post-season game on the new Chapmanville Field Turf which was installed back in August.
— Look for more on the Chapmanville-RCB game in Thursday and Friday’s Logan Banner print edition.
(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).