Both the Logan High School Wildcats and the Chapmanville Regional High School Tigers had historic first seasons in soccer.
Now, Logan and CRHS will make some more history this week as the Tigers and Wildcats are scheduled to head into Class AA/A sectional tournament play for the first time.
Both teams will be put to the test with tough sectional tournament draws against established programs.
Logan (6-10-1) is scheduled to play Monday at Cardinal Conference foe Poca. The Dots stand at 8-5-5 on the season following Monday’s draw against Lincoln County.
Logan, the No. 6 seed, tied Poca 1-1 earlier in the season at home.
The Wildcats won their last two matches of the season — a 4-0 win at home over Tug Valley on Monday and a 1-0 victory at home over Lincoln County on Wednesday.
“We placed sixth in our region and we are facing a very tough team in Poca,” Logan coach Jay Trump said. “This will be no walk in the park team. Poca is a seasoned team and we will be playing them on their home field. We will need to come to play like there is no tomorrow. We have the drive and the skills to pull it out but it will be up to the players to make it happen and play as a team.”
Chapmanville (6-9-1) was scheduled to close out the regular season with Saturday’s home doubleheader against Tug Valley and Mercer Christian.
The Tigers tied Teays Valley Christian 1-1 on Tuesday at home.
Chapmanville is scheduled to face a very tough Huntington St. Joe team on Monday at 6 p.m. at Barboursville in the Class AA/A sectional tournament.
The Irish are 13-4-2 on the season after Tuesday’s 3-0 loss at home to Nitro.
Win or lose, CRHS coach Greg Dillon said it’s been a positive first year of soccer for the Tigers.
Like Logan, Chapmanville also fielded a co-ed team.
“Who would not be proud of these young men and women?” Dillon said. “St. Joe is very good. They have put up some good wins, live in a dominant soccer environment in Huntington and have a player who may be one of the best wings in the state. They are a top 10 team and we will have to play like a top five team to compete. We have a tough task ahead of us. A team has to win three sectional games to move on to the regionals.”
Dillon said his Tigers have played well this season.
“Overall we have done pretty good. Our record is 6-9-2. We could easily be 16-1,” he said. “A lot of time we out shot and controlled the ball for better part of a games, yet couldn’t get the back of the net. The year has been fun. Many times I have looked across the field and saw other teams wondering what is going on because we have girls like Amber Stokes, Savannah Toney, Catherine Carter out-running them, out-shooting them and out-hustling them.”
Dillon said his team has battled injuries all season.
“I have several kids playing with broken bones, casts, knee braces and crutches on the sideline,” he said.
Dillon said several newcomers have stepped in nicely.
“We have newcommers like Josh Zigmond, Tyler Carter, Austin Adams and James Ellis who have never kicked a soccer ball until just a few weeks ago, who have worked their way in to the lineup and became impact players,” Coach Dillon said. “Lastly, we have Joe Toth, Zach Lamb, Christian Stafford, Fidelis Nowafor, Austin Hanshaw, Dillon Renniger, Dylan Brown and Ben Chapman who have been instant lettermen.”
Dillon said he hopes his team will give it their best vs. the Irish.
“Our losses were not give aways. Teams have had to work very hard at beating us,” Dillon said. “We are competitive with each and every opponent and hope we will do so against St. Joe. I will give them my best Jimmy V speech and hopefully prep their mind and body for the game and let the Chapmanville community know we appreciate and love their faith they have put in the young program.”
Trump said his team is also excited about the sectionals and said the season ending win over Lincoln County was a big boost.
“Before the (Lincoln County) game we pulled several of the players to the side and explained the importance of playing your spot,” he said. “We lined our defensive lineup with Macnamara in goalie, Joey Vinson in center defense along with Whitney Evans, Michael Honeycutt and Austin Thomson completing the back line. We knew we had to build that strong and they came to play. Dino Noe was a center midfielder along with Wesley Macnamara, Hunter Alfrey and Walker Jeffery. With Jeffery and Wes playing wings on the mid they were going to have a hard night. They had to play from defensive line to striker position line also. Facing up front as strikers was Kyle Browning and Kyle Fleming.”
Trump also said his team got good bench play.
“We had great personnel coming off the bench to help out with Cameron Adkins coming in to help out in striker and midfield positions, he’s just a good all-around player,” he said. “Cody Nunley was another player that will play where is needed and gives it his all. He’s another first-year player and has improved throughout the year. All of the players that were on the sideline kept the level of energy up the entire night. That’s what keeps the players on the field at a higher playing drive. You hear your teammates keeping you pump up for the next play.”
Coincidentally, Logan and Chapmanville did not play each other this fall in soccer.
This despite both are first-year programs, county schools, members of the Cardinal Conference and only 12 miles apart.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).