CHAPMANVILLE — With an open date this week and three games left to close out the regular season the Chapmanville Regional High School football team needed a win on Friday night.
It was not only Chapmanville’s homecoming game and the Tigers were facing a county rival in the Man Hillbillies, the Tigers also had a chance to break above .500 and get themselves back in the Class AA playoff chase.
With the opportunity presented in hand, the Tigers took with it and ran with it as Chapmanville shut out Man 20-0 at Tiger Stadium to improve to 4-3 on the season.
Chapmanville is off this coming Friday night before hosting Tolsia on Oct. 19 and Wayne on Oct. 26 and then closing out the regular season at Class AAA Point Pleasant on Nov. 2.
It was a damaging loss for Man, which dropped to 2-5 on the season. With no bye week until the final week of the season, the Billies are scheduled to close out the regular season with three straight games, beginning next week at home against Roane County. Man then plays at Pocahontas County on Oct. 19 and hosts Tug Valley on Oct. 26 in the finale.
The Billies were blanked 53-0 by county rivals this season, also getting goose-egged by Logan 33-0 in the season opener.
For Chapmanville coach George Barker, winning over Man and getting to 4-3 was the next step forward for his team. The Tigers are searching for their seventh straight winning season and sixth playoff appearance in a row.
“We’re 4-3 and we took the next step,” Barker said. “If these kids want to get into post-season play this was another step. We’re now going to take a week off and let the bumps and bruises heal. We’re going to work at getting better and then we’re going to game plan for Tolsia.”
Chapmanville’s defense held Man’s offense in check, limiting the Hillbillies to just 126 yards of total offense.
Man rushed 38 times for only 104 net yards and freshman quarterback John Thomas Keffer was 2-for-6 passing for 22 yards. Billies’ feature back Braden Griffin had 64 yards rushing on 14 carries.
Chapmanville finished with 284 yards of total offense. The Tigers rushed 38 times for 192 yards and had 89 more yards in the air.
“We’re getting better,” Barker said of his defense. “We made a little move there up front and have got a little more speed on the edge. We’ve been missing that all year. With Trevor Payne and Brady Cox on the edge that really helps us. Then we have Dashawn (Alexander) and Smitty (Dustin Smith) at our corners. We’re getting to the ball and we’re attacking. They had a couple of plays early on and we sat back and watched. But once we got into the attack mode we were pretty good.”
The Tigers took their first drive in for a score and never looked back.
Chapmanville marched 60 yards in 11 plays, capped off by Dustin Smith’s 1-yard plunge at the 7:35 mark of the first quarter. Dustin Conley’s extra point kick was good as the Tigers led 7-0.
After a Man three-and-out, Chapmanville got the ball back but quarterback Max Spradlin was intercepted by Man’s David Belcher at the CRHS 25-yard line. It was the first of two opening quarter picks for Belcher.
Man was forced to punt again after three plays. The long snap to punter Justin Cantrell was a bad one and Cantrell had to dodge Chapmanville defenders before getting off the kick sideways. The ball ended up rolling backwards for a negative 12-yard punt which rolled dead at the Tiger 32-yard line.
It was a gift for Chapmanville but the Tigers could not cash in as quarterback Brandon White was picked off by Belcher at the 1-yard line on a fourth down play, which amounted to a good “punt” if you will, for CRHS.
Man drove the ball to the CRHS 43, but coughed up the ball at the 22.
The Tigers later scored with 1:31 left until halftime as senior tailback DaShawn Alexander bulldozed up the middle for a 2-yard TD run. Conley’s PAT was good as Chapmanville upped its lead to 14-0.
Chapmanville then scored its only touchdown of the second half on its third play from scrimmage as White tossed a screen near the sideline to Brady Cox, who then made a cut, juked and raced down field for a 66-yard touchdown. Conley’s kick hit the left upright no good, but CRHS made it 20-0 with 9:11 to go in the third quarter.
“It was one of those games where we were gun shy all game long. We didn’t want to make a gross error and we weren’t playing out there on the edge,” Barker said. “We were very conservative in everything that we did but we went out there on the edge and threw that pass and Brady made a nice catch and cut outside. It was a great play.”
The Tigers then surprised the Billies by executing an on-side kick on the ensuing kickoff, getting a first-and-10 at the Man 38.
The drive, though, stalled with an incomplete pass on a fourth-and-eight play at the Billies’ 18-yard line.
After the turnover on downs, Man mysteriously took over on its own 19-yard line as the officials incorrectly spotted the ball up a yard.
But Man also turned the ball over on downs as Keffer was stopped for no gain on a fourth-and-three at the Man 47-yard stripe.
Chapmanville then fumbled the ball back to Man on the very next play.
The Billies then threatened to score as a Keffer-to-Dakota Toth pass play gave Man a first-and-goal at the CRHS 3-yard line.
David Belcher’s 2-yard run took it to the 1 but Belcher was then thrown for losses of 2 and 3 yards on the next two plays forcing Man into a fourth-and-goal back at the 6-yard line. Keffer was then sacked by Trevor Payne for a 7-yard loss back at the 13.
Chapmanville was then able to establish a long drive to the Man 29 — pretty much running out the remaining fourth quarter clock.
Man got the ball back on a changeover of downs but Keffer was sacked by Frankie Thompson to end the game.
* Belcher finished the game with 12 rushes for 43 yards. Toth had one catch for 22 yards. Gage Harvey had one grab for six yards.
On defense, Belcher had five tackles and two interceptions for Man.
Noah Maynard had eight tackles, including one for loss. Toth and Tracy Jones had 5.5 tackles each. Murrell had three and a half tackles, including one for loss. Gage Harvey and Robert Caudill and Neal Mullins had two and a half tackles apiece. Cody Gibson and Griffin each had two tackles. Caudill also had a tackle for loss.
Ritchie Nelson had one and a half stops. Cantrell and Chris Clark, had one tackle apiece.
Cantrell punted four times for an average of only 17 yards.
* For Chapmanville, White was 2-for-3 passing for 72 yards and one interception. He rushed six times for 61 yards. Max Spradlin was 2-for-6 passing for 17 yards and one pick.
Smith carried the ball 16 times for 55 yards. Cox had two catches for 85 yards and the one score.
Alexander had 13 rushes for 65 yards and one catch out of the backfield for six yards. Payne had one carry for nine yards. Paul Workman had one carry for three yards.
Smith led Chapmanville on defense with tackles and three assists. Austin Watts had six solos, three assists and one on-side kick recovery. Payne had five tackles, one assist, one sack and one fumble recovery. Brent Bigley finished with five solos and one assist, while Thompson had four solos, two assists and two sacks.
Matthew Dingess had four tackles and three assists. Matt Chapman, White and Cox each contributed four tackles and two assists. Devin Wiley had three tackles, while Dakota Sowers had two tackles and one assisted stop.
Alexander and Zach Pridemore each had a solo and an assist. Zac Hudson, Paul Workman and Rodney Workman each had a tackle.
In addition to kicking the two PATs, Conley punted once for 36 yards.
Chapmanville was penalized five times for 40 yards. The Hillbillies had five flags for 50 yards.
* Chapmanville senior cheerleader Summer Mullins was crowned at halftime as the 2012 homecoming queen, or “Miss Chapmanville Regional High School” as it is also called. Doing the crowning was last year’s queen, Jenna Evans, who currently is a freshman softball player at the University of Charleston alongside her sister Allison Evans. The Evans twins played on Chapmanville’s back-to-back Class AA state championship softball teams of 2009 and 2010.
* Several Chapmanville players wore pink socks to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Tigers’ senior wide receiver Brady Cox went a step further as he wore pink shoes.
* Chapmanville’s next opponent, the No. 16-ranked Tolsia Rebels, lost 22-20 at No. 11 Mingo Central on Friday night in a Cardinal Conference game. The Rebels are 3-4, while the Miners are 4-2. Chapmanville does not play Mingo Central this season.
No. 3-ranked Wayne is 6-0 after crushing No. 1 Scott 47-6 on Friday night in Madison in another Cardinal Conference contest. The Skyhawks are 6-1.
Chapmanville’s last opponent, former league foe Point Pleasant, lost 34-14 at Oak Hill on Friday night and dropped to 4-2. The Black Knights moved up to Class AAA status this fall.
* With Friday night’s win over Man, the Tigers have now won the last seven meetings with the Billies and are 7-6 over Man since the county series resumed in 2000. Man took the first six meetings from 2000-05.