CHAPMANVILLE — Often times the success of a football team hinges on how well they play in the trenches.
Simply put, if you can’t control the line of scrimmage it’s often hard to come out with a win.
As the football season nears, the Logan, Chapmanville and Man high school football teams are looking to their offensive lines as a source of strength.
On Chapmanville Regional High School’s offensive line, junior starters Corey McGraw (6-5, 295) and Evan Willis (6-0, 255) are back.
Chapmanville coach Rob Dial said, however, Willis is being moved from center to guard.
“Our success is going to be based upon on how good that we are going to be up front,” Dial said. “We have two starters back in Corey McGraw and Evan Willis. We are expecting them to lead us up front. Evan was our center last year but he’s going to be a guard. He’s going to back up at center. Corey is going to be one of our tackles. Both are extremly hard working young men. They are ‘Yes sir, no sir’ kids. They are not going to back talk. You can get on them and they are going to get better.”
Junior Hunter Adkins (6-0, 250) is also fighting for a starting spot on the offensive line.
“Hunter Adkins is a great kid,” Dial said. “He’s got a good attitude and is very coachable. He’s short in stature but you kind of like that sometimes for a center. We think Hunter is ready to step in and take that center position and thrive at it.”
Timmy Bigley (6-3, 275), another junior, may also start at tackle.
“Timmy Bigley is fighting for that other tackle spot. He played a lot of defense last year,” Dial said. “He’s probably going to have to play both ways this year. We expect a lot out of Timmy. He’s got great size and good natural ability. He goes out there and plays hard. He’s going to have to play both ways. We’re just not that deep up front.”
Others are also pressing for time on the O-line.
“The other spot we’re looking at a couple of guys in Zack Workman and Seth Whitt. Both have worked hard,” Dial said. “Seth has a ton of potential. He’s a young guy and just a sophomore. He’s got good size and we think that he’s going to fit into our plans on either the O-line or D-line or very well possibly both. We really think Seth can be special, not only this year, but as we move forward.
“We also have two new guys, the Smith brothers, Wesley and Aaron. We like both of those guys and we’re happy that they are out for the team.”
At Logan, senior Caleb McDonald was a returning starter heading into the preseason.
The 6-foot, 300-pounder, was lost a couple of weeks ago with a knee injury. It’s unclear at the moment, however, if McDonald will be able to return before the end of the season. McDonald started all 10 games last year for 4-6 Logan.
“We’ve got a bunch of guys who are competing for those spots. We’re not real seasoned up there on the line. Everybody is pretty equal. It’s going to be interesting to see how it works out because I don’t know who is going to be starting for us,” Mullins said.
Newcomer Elijah Adkins, a 6-3, 270-pound junior, and sophomore Jordan Brinegar (5-8, 215) are also fighting for starting spots on the O-line.
“We have a new kid who is coming out this year in Elijah Adkins. He’s a real hard worker and is a real physical, aggressive kid,” Mullins said. “We also have Jordan Brinegar. He’s a sophomore and played on our JV team last year that we really successful.”
Junior Musco Adams, who stands 6-4 and weighs in at 300 pounds, gives Logan some size up front.
“Musco Adams is also back and he started in the Scott game for us last year,” Mullins said.
Senior Chris Watkins (5-11, 235) and sophomore Tyler Mileto (6-2, 260), give Logan some depth in the trenches.
“We also have Chris Watkins, who is a senior and has been our kicker,” Mullins said. “Now he’s going to be coming in to our offensive line. Tyler Mileto is also back. He’s a good sophomore and a big, strong kid. He’s in there fighting for a spot.”
Senior brothers David Cruz (6-2, 200) and Cezar Cruz (6-3, 240) are also fighting for playing time on the line.
“David Cruz is a senior and has played some on the defensive line,” Mullins said. “Cezar Cruz is his brother and he’s also in there fighting for playing time too.”
Down at Man, the Hillbillies will also have some experience on the line.
Seniors Jacob Asbury, Austin Bragg and Kane Brown and junior D.J. Browning, all return.
“Up front, we’ve got some experienced people in Kane Brown, D.J. Browning, Jacob Asbury, Austin Bragg and Steve Ramey,” Man coach Harvey Arms said. “All of those played with the varsity and played JV ball, so we do have some experience up front. Our problem up front will be with depth because the other kids don’t have the experience. At this point it looks like we got some pretty decent skilled people. We’ve got to see what they look like when we get to pads and full contact.”
Logan opens the season on Aug. 25 at home against Man.
Chapmanville opens the season on Aug. 26 on the road at Sissonville in Cardinal Conference action.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).