CHAPMANVILLE, W.Va. — The Chapmanville Regional High School football team has already played some tough opponents so far this season.
Logan, however, may be the toughest.
Tigers’ coach Rob Dial calls Logan a “complete team,” and said he knows his Tigers will be put to a stern test.
No. 12-ranked Logan, 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the Cardinal Conference, is scheduled to host county rival Chapmanville (2-2, 2-2) on Friday night in the 16th meeting between the two rivals.
Logan leads the all-time series 8-7 but have dropped two straight to the Tigers.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Logan Stadium.
Dial said Logan’s high-powered offense, led by freshman David Early, is getting all the headlines, but said Logan’s defense is also very good.
Before last week’s 41-12 loss at Point Pleasant, Logan’s first-team defense had only surrendered three points all season long.
“Everyone is talking about Logan’s offense and rightfully so, but their defense is playing great,” Dial said. “They really fly to the football and play with a lot of energy and effort. Logan is the most complete team that we will face up to this point in our season.”
Logan is led by its linebacker trio of Shawntez Matthews, Cody Maynard and Daniel Browning, the teams’ three leading tacklers.
Matthews has 34 tackles, an interception and a pass breakup. Maynard has 25 tackles, two pass breakups and a caused fumble. Browning checks in at 29 tackles, three sacks, a punt block and a QB pressure.
Jamal Minter has also played well on both sides of the ball and has 21 tackles, three pass breakups, two caused fumbles, a sack and a QB pressure.
Several others have been key for Logan on defense, including Cezar Cruz, Trey Jude, Tyler Browning, Braxton Goff, Tyler Mileto, Chuckie Felder, Michael Hall and others.
Dial said Logan has a very good team.
“Logan’s had a great start to the year,” he said. “They’ve put up a lot of points this season then ran into a buzzsaw last week against Point Pleasant. They played much better than the score indicated. We’re expecting a tough game from them.
Several have stepped up for the Tigers on defense.
It’s going to take a team effort on Friday night in order to be successful.
“For us, the keys are the same. We must play good, solid defense, protect the ball on offense, take what they give us and make something happen on special teams,” Dial said.
Ryan Craddock is Chapmanville’s leading tackler heading into the game with 39 total tackles (solos and assists combined). He also has a fumble recovery and a sack.
Tim Bigley has 30 tackles and two sacks, while Alex Oxley has 33 tackles. Seth Whitt has 29 tackles and a sack. Austin Butcher has 28 tackles, while Dillon Renniger has 21.
Billy Sheppard has 16 tackles, two fumble recoveries and an interception. Evan Willis has 16 stops and two sacks. Tristan Browning has 21 tackles, two sacks and a caused fumble. Dylan Smith checks in at 24 tackles, a sack, an interception and a fumble return for a touchdown last week against the Poca Dots. Tyler Barcklay has 18 tackles coming in.
“We’re going to line up and try to play physical football,” Dial said. “Logan’s a spread team and they are going to spread the field both horizontal and verticle. We have to be in position to make the plays. Second, we have to make certain that we are reading the proper keys and we don’t put our eyes on one spot. We have to make certain that we are looking at the correct keys and we have to go out there and make a play. We can’t get caught up on how athletic someone is or how strong someone is. We just have to play good sound defense.”
Logan QB David Early has thrown for 900 yards and 14 touchdowns this season in Logan’s spread offense. Last week at Point Pleasant, the Big Blacks were able to record four sacks on the freshman QB.
“Obviously, we would like to be able to pressure the quarterback,” Dial said. “At the same time we have to drop enough players back in coverage so that we don’t give up a lot of one-on-one opportunities because they have the athletes to make the plays.”
Early has had success this season with bubble screen passes or short slants to wideouts Jamal Minter, Braxton Goff and Michael Hall. Early also has the ability to scramble and tuck and run or to be a pocket passer and throw the deep home run ball.
“In a way it’s kind of like pick your poison in what you want to do,” Dial said. “But I have a lot of confidence in (Defensive Coordinator) Bo Berry and our defense and our defensive players. But if you play them up tight and try to take away their screen game they’re going to go over the top on you. If you lay back and try to keep everything in front of you they’re going to pick you apart with the screens because they have the athletes to make the plays. They have a great scheme and they do a great job. They’ve been running this offense for 14 years with Coach Mullins and (Assistant) Coach (Josh) Fry.”
Dial said it’s a pivital game for both teams.
“Anytime Chapmanville and Logan play regardless of records it’s going to be a big game for the communities,” Dial said. “All of our kids know each other. There’s a lot of familiarities. It makes for a more exciting game that way.”
Football Friday night
WHAT: Chapmanville (2-2, 2-2) at No. 12 Logan (3-1, 1-0), Logan Homecoming Game
WHEN: Friday night, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Logan Stadium, Logan, W.Va.
SURFACE: Field Turf
LAST WEEK: Logan lost 41-12 at Point Pleasant, Chapmanville beat Poca 53-20
LAST YEAR’S MEETING: Chapmanville beat Logan 43-26
ALL-TIME SERIES: Logan leads 8-7