The Logan-Man football series has its season-opening tradition.
The Man-Chapmanville series has its cross-county bragging rights.
The Chapmanville-Logan series has its emotion.
The county rival Tigers and Wildcats are scheduled to tee it up one more time on Friday night as Class AAA No. 13 Logan (3-1) is scheduled to host Class AA Chapmanville (2-2) in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Logan Stadium.
Friday’s clash will be only the 12th meeting between the two schools.
Logan took a 6-5 lead in the all-time series following last year’s exciting 22-21 victory over Chapmanville at Tiger Stadium.
Chapmanville and Logan didn’t start playing each other in football until 2001 — Oct. 21 to be exact — only five weeks removed from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Back then, Chapmanville coach George Barker was still coaching at Logan and Logan’s current head coach Gary Mullins was one of his assistants.
Barker’s Wildcats ended up rolling over Coach Ronnie Ooten and the Tigers, 21-0 at Tiger Stadium.
The next year in 2002, Logan won its homecoming game, 27-8 over Chapmanville in a contest that was attended by Hollywood actor Leslie Nielsen, who portrayed Lt. Frank Drebin in the “Naked Gun” series of film of the late 1980s and early 90s, before passing away in 2010.
Nielsen was in town promoting biofuels and stayed around to ride a float in the Logan homecoming parade and to do the pre-game coin flip. He did not stick around to sing the national anthem and nobody called him “Shirley,” to anyone’s knowledge.
Then in 2003, Chapmanville tasted victory for the first time in the series with a 20-14 upset win over Logan in its annual homecoming game.
Both Barker and Mullins said they have enjoyed the series over the years. Both are 4-4 as head coaches going against each other over the last eight seasons.
“I was on the other side of the fence when we got it started,” Barker said. “I thought it would be great when I was down at Logan. We won the first one and they came back the next year and won the next one. Now I’m on the other side of the fence. I think it’s a great series. I don’t think there’s any difference between us and Man and Logan and Man. I think the fact that we play the county schools is good.”
Mullins said he hopes the football series between Logan and Chapmanville will continue next year and beyond.
“If the decision was mine it would continue,” Mullins said. “I know that everyone on our end at Logan High School wants it to continue. There’s no one on our end that doesn’t want it to not go on. I can’t speak for them but I can say everyone over here wants to continue to play this game. It needs to continue to be played because the schools make so much money at this game.”
With large crowds in attendance each year to see the Tigers and Wildcats, there is gate money to be made.
“The money that we are spending at the gate goes right back to the community,” Barker said. “I think it’s a good thing. It’s not a bad thing. The biggest factor is that there is always a big turnout and there’s great enthusiasm. That adds to the atmosphere. I think that makes for good high school football. When everyone is excited the play on the field gets that much better. I like the atmosphere and I like the competition.”
Chapmanville and Logan have had its on-field and off-field tensions over the years in the three main sports.
Last year, the Wildcats and Tigers stopped playing each other in baseball and boys’ basketball.
Barker, named recently as Chapmanville Regional’s Athletics Director, said the schools should play, given nearly $4 a gallon for gas, a poor economy and the short trip. From all indications, however, it is unclear if Logan and Chapmanville will play each other in 2013.
“I really think that there’s no reason that we can’t play in all sports,” Barker said. “We need to play. I think it’s good. We’re just 12 miles apart. I know they are Triple-A and we’re Double-A but I think that we can compete. It’s been a great game for the fans. I guess we’ll have to sit down with the powers that be and decide what the two schools are going to do. We need to play in all sports and not pick and choose.”