CHAPMANVILLE — With the Cardinal Conference expanding to 10 teams next season and the league planning on playing nine conference games that will only leave one team left to place on the 2016 high school football schedule.
Chapmanville Regional High School hopes Man is that team.
CRHS coach George Barker said he hopes the Tigers and Hillbillies will be able to continue to play each other in 2016 and in future years.
Man is moving up to Class AA ball next fall.
“Logan has Man locked into Week 1 right now and that’s a problem because that is looking like that will be the non-conference week,” Barker said. “So we’ve got to work that out. Man is on the schedule next year as far as I’m concerned but we’ll find out in February when we finalize the football schedule.”
Chapmanville and Man have played a competitive and spirited series over the years on the gridiron that has gone back and forth.
The Tigers lead the series 9-7 since the rivalry was resumed in 2000.
Last season, Chapmanville won a 35-28 thriller at Man as Tigers’ quarterback Alex Berry scrambled and fired a 28-yard game winning touchdown pass to Noah Dingess with only 17 seconds left.
The Tigers won 26-20 in double overtime over Man in 2014 and the Hillbillies won a 26-22 thriller in 2013 at home.
In last year’s meeting, Chapmanville led 28-6 late in the third quarter but were able to break a 28-all tie and stave off a furious Man comeback with the late touchdown pass.
Logan, Winfield and Nitro — all dropping down from Class AAA to Double-A — were added to the Cardinal Conference last month.
Barker said the three teams will make the conference even stronger.
“It was pretty much a consensus that we didn’t want to go past 10 teams,” Barker said. “We had an opportunity to but 10 is a good number and it allows you to play nine conference football games and one that you can leave open for a non-conference game to play somebody else — maybe a local rival that you need to play.”
Barker said Logan, Nitro and Winfield will make the Cardinal Conference better in all sports. Nitro is known for its state championship caliber baseball team. Logan has won state titles in basketball, baseball and softball and enjoys a rich athletic tradition. Winfield has had success in just about every sport.
“They’ve always been really good in football,” Barker said. “Basketball got a whole lot better and baseball got a whole lot better. Soccer also got much better. Tennis is better. Every sport got better with the addition of those schools. I see nothing but a good thing with those schools coming in. It’s going to be tough in football. Week in and week out you’ve got to be ready to play.”
The Cardinal Conference will be split into two divisions next year.
The North Division will consist of the five Kanawha Valley teams — Poca, Herbert Hoover, Sissonville, Nitro and Winfield.
The South Division will be made up of the five southern Coalfield schools, including Logan, Mingo Central, Chapmanville, Scott and Wayne.
Tolsia, which is going back to Single-A, is leaving the conference.
Barker said a Cardinal Conference championship game could be created in basketball and possibly baseball and softball as well.
“We’re going to try to have a champions night in basketball and maybe some other sports,” he said. “As time goes it’s just going to keep getting better and better.”
In basketball and some other sports, each conference team would play everyone in their division twice in a home-and-home series. The South Division schools would then play each of the North teams once during the regular season.
Chapmanville would have to add Winfield, Logan and Nitro to its schedule in all sports.
CRHS and Logan stopped playing each other in baseball and boys’ basketball in 2011.
Nitro and Poca — only about 10 miles apart and Putnam County rivals — have played each other in a yearly non-conference football game. The Dots and Wildcats will now be in the same conference.
Logan has enjoyed a longstanding rivalry with Winfield over the years in basketball, softball and baseball.
Nitro and Logan have also been Class AAA sectional baseball rivals the last few seasons.
(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).