CHAPMANVILLE — Dylan Smith brings a lot of versatility into the Chapmanville Regional High School offense.
Whether it be as a running back or split out wide as a wide receiver, the senior Smith brings a lot to the table for the Tigers.
He will have to help pick up the slack left by departed senior Jacob Dingess, who burned opposing team’s secondaries last season and had an all-state season with 73 catches for 1,157 yards — both school records — for the 7-4 Tigers. Dingess also had 15 touchdowns.
Last year, Smith had 47 rushes for 357 yards and four TDs and also had 32 catches for 584 yards and eight more scores as he split at both positions.
“In the backfield, we return Dylan Smith,” Chapmanville first-year coach Rob Dial said. “He started for us last year. He will also continue to split out and play receiver as well. We as coaches have to find ways to get Dylan the ball because he is going to be a very valuable player for us. He’s a game changer and he’s someone that can make something happen when he has the ball in his hands. We’re excited about his potential. He’s worked phenomenally hard in the off-season in the weight room. He’s got a real good attitude.”
Also at wide receiver, the Tigers have senior Billy Sheppard, who expects to get many passes come his way.
Last year, Sheppard came on strong with 24 catches for 289 yards and three TDs.
“Billy had a good year last year and as the year progressed he got better,” Dial said. “In the off-season he was in the weight room every day. He’s got a lot of leadership abilities and characteristics about him. He wants to see the team work hard and wants to see the team do well. Billy’s the kind of guy that will sacrifice and will play wherever you need him to play. He’s a possession receiver and we look for a big year out of him. He does a good job of getting open in one-on-one man coverage. He’s also good at finding out where the hole is on zone defense. He’s a real solid reliable guy for us.”
Juniors Peyton Hensley and Cade Elkins are other top targets at WR.
“Peyton Hensley has been a surprise,” Dial said. “He’s really coming on strong at receiver. We also have Cade Elkins that we think is going to find some playing time somewhere on one side of the ball or the other.”
Sophomore Dillon Renniger and junior Robert Seigman give CRHS added depth at wideout.
“Dillon Renniger is going to play a lot on defense but he could also help us on the offensive side,” Dial said. “The same thing goes for Robert Seigman. Another guy who is new to our program who took a couple of years off is Hunter Long. We’re excited to see Hunter back out. We just think that he needs to be patient and let his body get re-adjusted to football. I think that we can see Hunter step in at the X or Y position and see some significant playing time.”
Devin Vance and Ethan Ferrell could also see time at wide receiver.
“Another senior receiver is Devin Vance,” Dial said. “We also have Ethan Ferrell. Every time the weight room has been open he’s been there. He’s going to play somewhere for the Tigers this year. He’s a true blue collar guy. He’s a team guy. He’s only a sophomore. He’s going to work hard.
“A lot of our skilled position guys are great and you’re going to see a lot of their names in the paper in the Logan Banner this fall.”
In the backfield, CRHS also has a good back in newcomer Tristan Browning, a senior.
“We also have a guy who transferred in from Lincoln County and he’s from the Harts area and that is Tristan Browning,” Dial said. “He was with us as a freshman. He’s a senior and I think that he can be a special running back. He’s not overly physical in size, however, he has a very hard, aggressive running style and he has speed when he breaks out in the open. We’re really looking for big things from Tristan.”
Senior Ryan Craddock, who played mostly on defense last year, may also see time in the backfield.
“We’re also looking at Ryan Craddock in the backfield,” Dial said. “He’s a throwback player. He’s got a more true fullback type of mentality to him. He’s also going to play some inside linebacker for us.”
Sophomore Brennan Williams also figures into the mix at running back.
“Another guy in the backfield who is also going to play receiver is Brennan Williams. He’s also a utility type of player,” Dial said. “He’s a sophomore and played a lot of JV football for the Tigers last year. This year, we firmly believe that he’s going to help us some on Friday nights. Exactly where and what role? That’s what we’ve got to figure out here in August.”
The Tigers open the regular season Aug. 26 at Sissonville.
CRHS has a preseason game on Saturday at Valley Fayette at 10 a.m.
Chapmanville then takes on Winfield on Aug. 20 at 10:15 a.m. in the Cardinal Conference Gridorama at Scott High School in Madison.