CHAPMANVILLE — After four years away from football Rob Dial had an itch to get back in the game.
Dial, Chapmanville’s Offensive Coordinator from 1999-2012, said he’s happy to be back in football.
Dial puts on the head coaching headsets for the first time this fall as he replaces longtime mentor George Barker, who stepped down after 12 seasons and six playoff berths.
“I was fortunate enough in years past when I was given a lot of freedom and flexibilty when I was an assistant coach,” Dial said. “That part of it hasn’t been much of a change for me. I guess the biggest adjustment has been talking to reporters and parents. I haven’t actually coached as much this year hands on as I have previously. Part of that reason is that I have been truly blessed, as has all of us here at Chapmanville, with a great coaching staff. There’s a great group of guys and they have worked hard. Our players have really taken to them.”
Chapmanville hit the practice field on Monday — first with its Midnight Madness practice and then an evening session.
Optimism is high again for the Tigers, which were 7-4 last year and hosted a Class AA playoff game.
“It’s been a good start to the year,” Dial said. “Right now, we’re in the low 40s with our players. They kids have come out really with a good attitude and have been very receptive to what has been asked of them in previous years. They have worked really hard. We have asked them to allow us to coach them. So far they have done that. It’s been a pleasant first few days of practice. We’ve been practicing primarily in the evenings.”
Dial said the team has had productive practices this week.
“We had a great start with Midnight Madness,” he said. “That have us a lot of energy and that has carried over to the first few practices. Now we’re doing a lot of installation of the offense and the defense. The kids have picked up really well on that. So far so good so we’ll see how well it translates as we play games on Friday nights.”
Dial said the players have worked very hard.
“A lot of the projections not only go back to what we are seeing in the preseason but the work that was put in back in June,” he said. “We had a good June practice period and most of our players took advantage of that. That has really put them into positions to be able to compete for starting jobs. We also had some off-season weight lifting and conditioning. Those are the guys that we want to give the first opportunity to, to go in and play football on Friday nights.”
CRHS opens the season Aug. 26 at Sissonville.
Chapmanville will have a pair of preseason games as CRHS heads to Valley Fayette on Aug. 13 and then to Scott on Aug. 20 for a scrimmage against Winfield in the Cardinal Conference Gridorama.
Both have 10 a.m. starting times.
“As far as scrimmages go, first and foremost, we need to come out of them staying as healthy as we can,” Dial said. “That goes not only for us but for every other team. You hate to lose players in the preseason, at practice or during scrimmages. We need to work on being in as good a shape as we can and stay healthy.”
Dial said the scrimmages are a good opportunity to see what his players can do, particularly some of the newcomers and freshmen.
“Also, we need to evaluate players,” he said. “That’s because there’s no substitute for game speed and competition. When the kids get on the line of scrimmage across the line of scrimmage against someone with a different color jersey that intensity, that energy and that level of competition and play helps us see how they respond to that. We need to find out who can play and who can’t play. That’s what scrimmages are all about, to see how can do the job and see who needs some more work.”
James Barker is back as Chapmanville’s Offensive Coordinator, while Bo Berry returns as the Tigers’ Defensive Coordinator.
Larry Dingess is the special teams coordinator and Lee Jones is the offensive and defensive line coach. Chris Brewster is the head coach of the JV team.
A new addition to the CRHS coaching staff is Todd Terry, who is the wide receiver’s coach.
“I have complete trust in our coaches at CRHS,” Coach Dial said. “They have experience and a great amount of knowledge. Also, a big help in the preseason has been our head middle school coach Jason Maynard and CMS Defensive Coordinator Zac Belcher. Both are good, young coaches.”
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).