By Paul Adkins
CHAPMANVILLE – The Chapmanville and Sissonville high school football teams are like mirror images of each other.
Both had so-so seasons a year ago and both are looking for improvement this fall.
Chapmanville Regional, 4-6 last season, is scheduled to open the season on Friday night at home against Sissonville, a team that went 5-5 a year ago.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Chapmanville’s Tiger Stadium.
The game is not only the opener, it’s also a Cardinal Conference contest, so it’s of even great significance and meaning.
After a good preseason in which Chapmanville scrimmaged conference foe Poca on Aug. 17 and Class AAA Lincoln County last week, the Tigers seem to be ready to go.
Back at the helm for the Tigers is 10th-year head coach George Barker.
“I thought our scrimmages went OK,” Barker said. “Every year is a different year but we kind of got what we wanted to out of them. I just hope we are ready to play four quarters of football. We played two quarters against Poca and two quarters against Lincoln County but a football game is a complete game. I’m real pleased so far.”
Barker said Sissonville has a good team.
“They are an excellent football team,” he said. “Right now, they look to be as good as anybody on our schedule. This is going to be a real tough contest for us. Their quarterback is the guy that makes them go. They play hard defensively. It’s a typical Cardinal Conference foe. You are going to have to play four quarters and a complete game to beat them. We look for a tough contest. We hope that we can stay with them because they are a good football team.”
Barker said junior Alex Berry will start at quarterback. It will be his first varsity start. Backup Jordan Toler, who is known for his running, may also see some time under center.
“That’s probably the way that we will go,” Barker said of Berry. “This is Alex’s third year in this system. He has a great grasp of what we want done and how things are done. He’s been around us since he’s been in the first grade. That’s his asset. He does a great job of executing the offense. If we can stay within his abilities I think that we’ll be fine. I’ve been real pleased with our quarterbacks so far. Jordan Toler gets better every day. We’re pleased with where are but we can’t be satisfied. We have to keep getting better.”
Chapmanville is led in the backfield by junior running back Devin Wiley, who expects to get more carries this season. Paul Workman and Matt Chapman, a pair of seniors, may also get a lion’s share of rushes.
The Tigers have a couple of good wide receivers in seniors Brady Cox and Zac Casto. Cox, a three-sport Chapmanville athlete, who also plays baseball and basketball, stands 6-5.
The Indians beat the Tigers 40-21 in last year’s season opener at Sissonville. CRHS leads the series 4-3 since 2006 when Chapmanville announced it was joining the league.
Barker, a veteran coach, said he still gets excited about the season opener.
“The smell of the grass and atmosphere is great to be around even for an old man like me. It’s a great time,” Barker said. “Right now everyone is undefeated and you can find out a little bit about yourself and your team here in this first game.”
Barker said his team is injury-free heading into the opener.
“I think that we’ll be ready. We’ve got a few bumps and bruises from the scrimmages which is normal,” he said. “We just have to find a way to get everyone we’ve got ready. To win these first games it takes a total team effort. I just hope our kids rally and play the best that they can. If I can get that and they are good enough to win then so be it.”
Friday night’s game will also be the debut of Chapmanville’s new offensive coordinator, James Barker, Coach Barker’s son. He was previously the head football coach at Chapmanville Middle School.
CRHS Hall of Fame
George Barker, also the Chapmanville Regional High School Athletics Director, has announced this year’s Chapmanville Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2013.
The new inductees are Casey Bowling, Eric Ellis, Deana Booth and Pete Fala.
Bowling, a 2002 Chapmanville graduate, was a standout centerfielder for the Tiger baseball team and went on to play four years at WVU and later with a trio of professional baseball teams in the Frontier League. Bowling hit .509 as a sophomore in 2000 and was the Class AA State Player of the Year. He led Chapmanville to a 30-5 record and state tourney berth in 2001.
Ellis is the Chapmanville baseball coach and led the Tigers to a 35-3 record and state championship in 2011. He joins his dad, Ted Ellis, in the Hall of Fame. The elder Ellis coached the Tiger baseball team for more than 30 years and led Chapmanville to two state titles.
Booth was a standout softball player at Chapmanville in the 1990s and went on to play collegiately at West Virginia State.
Fala was a standout baseball player at Chapmanville and played college ball at the University of Charleston.
The new inductees will be recognized at Chapmanville’s Hall of Fame Game against Logan on Sept. 27. On Sept. 26 at the Logan Country Club the new class will be honored with a hall of fame banquet and golf outing.
Chapmanville-Sissonville Football Series
since 2000 (CRHS leads 4-3):
2012: Sissonville 40, Chapmanville 21
2011: Chapmanville 47, Sissonville 7
2010: Chapmanville 45, Sissonville 6
2009: Chapmanville 34, Sissonville 19
2008: Chapmanville 41, Sissonville 19
2007: Sissonville 27, Chapmanville 21 (OT)
2006: Sissonville 34, Chapmanville 14
Cardinal Conference Football Standings
Herbert Hoover 0-0
Mingo Central 0-0
Friday, August 30 games:
Sissonville at Chapmanville, 7:30 p.m.
Wyoming East at Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
Scott at Herbert Hoover, 7:30 p.m.
Tolsia at Wayne, 7:30 p..m.
Poca at Nitro, 7:30 p.m.