LOGAN, W.Va. — Over the last 15 years the Logan-Chapmanville high school football series has produced some interesting twists and plot lines.
Game number 16 is scheduled for Friday night as Chapmanville (2-2 overall and 2-2 in the Cardinal Conference) is scheduled to play at Logan (3-1, 1-0).
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Logan Stadium.
It will also be Logan’s annual Homecoming Game, something else that will only add to the grandeur.
It’s been a good series between Chapmanville and Logan.
Logan, winners of five out of the first six matchups since the two schools started playing each other in 2001, leads 8-7 in the all-time series.
The Wildcats have won three out of the last five years but dropped a 48-42 overtime game to the Tigers in 2014 and then fell 43-26 last year at Chapmanville.
Chapmanville won four straight over Logan from 2007-10 in the midst of its playoff run.
There’s lots of angles to the Logan-Chapmanville football game.
Since the schools are only 12 miles apart everyone knows everyone.
There’s no secrets.
One of the plot lines is this.
From 2004-15, there was the teacher vs. pupil coaching matchup.
Former Chapmanville coach George Barker was once the Logan football coach from 1998-2003.
One of his assistant coaches was current Logan mentor Gary Mullins.
This year, new Chapmanville head coach Rob Dial will lead the Tigers for the first time against Mullins and the Wildcats.
Then there was a former coaching matchup between two men who were leading their teams against their own alma maters.
There was even a visit from a Hollywood movie star.
But what the Tigers and the Wildcats have produced most has been good football.
Coach Barker surely knows about this.
The former Tigers’ coach has the distinction of coaching in the county rivalry on both sides of the field.
After stepping down as head coach of the Wildcats after the 2003 season, Barker left for his alma mater Chapmanville the following year and began the rebuilding process there. Barker was replaced at Logan by Mullins, his former assistant.
The “trade,” if you will, worked on both sides.
Mullins has led Logan to five Class AAA playoff appearances.
Barker guided the Tigers into the Class playoffs five times as well, including a Final Four berth in 2011 when Chapmanville lost at Point Pleasant in a bid to reach the Wheeling Super Six.
Coach Mullins said it’s been a good series with Chapmanville.
“It always seems like it comes down to the last couple of series,” Mullins said. “It seems like it always goes into the fourth quarter. The two team’s offenses are very similar. It’s an exciting series and a lot of things happen in this game that you don’t see always in other games. It’s always an exciting night to watch football in Logan County that’s for sure.”
When he was at Logan in the early 2000s, it was Coach Barker who was instrumental in getting the game started.
“When I was at Logan I was instrumental in trying to get this game established,” Barker said in an earlier interview. “I think that it’s a natural game. It’s a game where both schools benefit financially. It makes it more interesting when you are so close and so competitive.”
Coach Dial said he’s also a fan of the series. He was Chapmanville’s Offensive Coordinator from 1999-2012 and was a part of many of the Chapmanville-Logan games.
“Economically, it’s been fantastic,” Dial said. “Traditionally, the Logan, Man and Scott games have always been our biggest games. From a competitive standpoint there’s been very few games where the score has been lopsided. If you are going to come out and pay your five dollars on Friday night you’re going to see a great football game. I have seen no negatives in this rivalry.”
At the beginning of the series during the first three years, the game pitted then Chapmanville coach Ronnie Ooten, a Logan High School graduate, against then Logan coach Barker, who graduated from Chapmanville.
The rivalry has shifted back and forth.
Logan went 4-1 in the first five meetings and has gone 3-2 in the last five games against the Tigers.
Chapmanville controlled the series in the middle years, winning four in a row over the Cats from 2007-10 as Coach Barker led CRHS to the playoffs each year.
The 2011 meeting at Chapmanville was a memorable one as the Cats escaped with a 22-21 victory over the Tigers. The game was typical of the rivalry as it went down to the last minute with a late Logan touchdown. The Wildcats then elected to go for the win and the two-point conversion. Logan’s Joe Street jumped at the goal line and was hit in mid air. His second effort then put him in the end zone for the winning score.
The Logan-Chapmanville football series began in 2001 and was played just a month after the September 11 terrorist attacks. There was a patriotic fervor across the nation and locally as many American flags were spotted across the Chapmanville Middle School parking lot the night of the game.
Logan won the first meeting 21-0 over the Cats.
The second game in 2002 had a special visitor.
It was Logan’s homecoming game and LHS was to have a special guest that day — Hollywood movie actor Leslie Nielsen — known for his comedic roles in the Naked Gun trilogy of movies and also Airplane! Nielsen was in town for the weekend as he was promoting bio fuels across the region.
Nielsen stayed in Logan all afternoon on game day, rode through downtown Logan on a homecoming float and stuck around to be the special guest at the Chapmanville-Logan football game at Logan Stadium.
Nielsen greeted Coach Barker on the sideline before the game and went to midfield with the Wildcat and Tiger captains and the referees to do the coin flip.
Nielsen did not sing the National Anthem that night like he did in the Naked Gun movie but the actor did say something funny during the coin flip.
“He flipped the coin and the team that won the toss said that they wanted to defer. So when the official turned to the other guy they said, ‘We want to defer.’ And that’s when Leslie said, ‘Defer? Well, the fur is going to fly tonight,’” Barker said in an earlier interview. “He was also part of the homecoming parade.”
After doing the coin flip, Nielsen stayed for a few minutes to sign a few autographs. He soon left along with his agent, who was wearing a black “Naked Gun” windbreaker.
Logan ended up beating Chapmanville 27-8 in the ‘02 game. Nielsen died in 2010 at the age of 84 but will forever be tied locally to the county football rivalry.
In coaching on both sides of the rivalry, Barker was 8-7 in Chapmanville-Logan games. Mullins has a 6-6 mark.
The series also produced some other memorable games.
In the 2003 game, which was also Chapmanville’s homecoming game, quarterback Jeremiah Butcher led the Tigers to a 20-14 upset over the favored Wildcats.
The 2006 game at Logan was also a close one. Down 14-7, Chapmanville QB Evan Brown raced down field for a possible game-tying 70-yard touchdown run. It was called back due to an illegal blocking penalty. The Cats got the ball back and chewed up the rest of the clock, taking a few knees deep in the Tigers’ red zone.
From 2007-10, Chapmanville dominated the series, winning all four meetings. In the 2010 game, Chapmanville won 35-20 at Logan. The Tigers were led that season by the dynamic backfield duo of Scott transfer Jake Robinson and Dustin Botsch, a former Logan player, who was taking on his ex-Wildcat teammates for the first time.
The 2007 matchup was also a nail-biter with the Tigers winning 13-12.
The biggest blowout was a 42-6 victory by Logan at Chapmanville in 2005.
Barker said one of the reasons the Tigers and the Wildcats never played in the past was the descrepancy in the enrollment figures.
Back in the 1970s and 80s, Logan was a large Class AAA school and Chapmanville was a smaller Double-A.
Over the years, the Logan area has seen a downturn in population and enrollment, pushing LHS back down to 2A status this year.
On the flipside, Chapmanville’s enrollment and town population have seemed to stabalize over the years or has even increased.
With the closure of Harts High School in 2007 and many of those students enrolled at the new Chapmanville Regional High School, that has further increased the school’s enrollment.
Logan vs. Chapmanville
All-Time Football Series
(Logan leads 8-7)
2015: Chapmanville 43, Logan 26
2014: Chapmanville 48, Logan 42 (OT)
2013: Logan 27, Chapmanville 14
2012: Logan 20, Chapmanville 0
2011: Logan 22, Chapmanville 21
2010: Chapmanville 35, Logan 20
2009: Chapmanville 21, Logan 14
2008: Chapmanville 21, Logan 6
2007: Chapmanville 13, Logan 12
2006: Logan 14, Chapmanville 7
2005: Logan 42, Chapmanville 6
2004: Logan 29, Chapmanville 6
2003: Chapmanville 20, Logan 14
2002: Logan 27, Chapmanville 8
2001: Logan 21, Chapmanville 0
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).