Chapmanville's Austin Adkins (9) intercepts a Mingo Central pass in the first quarter of the Tigers 42-20 victory over the Miners. (Holly Eldridge/Holly Eldridge Photography).
Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports
CHAPMANVILLE The Chapmanville Tigers have been in win mode since coming out of their bye week four weeks ago.
Prior to the bye, Chapmanville had just lost to Herbert Hoover on Sept. 30 and was just 1-3 since starting the season with wins over Sissonville and Poca.
A lot was on the line for the Tigers, who were 3-3 coming out of the bye week, heading into a key Cardinal Conference showdown with the Wayne Pioneers.
The Tigers hadn’t won at Pioneer Field since defeating the Pioneers, 19-18, in an overtime thriller on Sept. 20, 1991.
Chapmanville fell behind 6-0 at halftime but scored a pair of third quarter touchdowns to take a 14-6 lead after three quarters of play.
Wayne scored first in the fourth quarter to take the game at 14, but the Tigers answered right back and led 20-14 but the Pioneers scored in the final minute and took a 21-20 lead.
Many felt it was over, many felt that the Pioneers had just put the final dagger in the Tigers postseason hopes, but according to Chapmanville coach James Barker the Tigers mindset changed in that memorable fourth quarter that saw the Tigers score with just 0:09 remaining for a 26-21 win.
“Our young men believe in each other, and I think that’s what’s changed,” Barker said. “Trust. Now the question we’ve asked them is can they sustain success?”
Can they? The answer to Barker’s questions has been a resounding yes as the Tigers have defeated county rival Logan, 49-7 the following week, and won for the first time ever at Mingo Central, 42-20, last week.
Now the attention turns to another Logan County rival, Class A No. 9 Man, who secured a playoff berth in last week’s 24-8 win at Tug Valley. The Hillbillies are in a fight for a potential top eight seed and can potentially lock up an opening round home game with a win over Chapmanville Friday night.
“Man is a good football team,” Barker said. “(They) probably have three or four of the better athletes we’ve seen with Adams, Brumfield, Isaacs and Green.”
A win over Man not only clinches a Class AA playoff spot for Chapmanville but it gives the Tigers their first outright Logan County Championship since 2017.
A Man win guarantees a share of the conference championship for all three Logan County schools.
“We have to match their heart and physicality,” Barker said.
Chapmanville has not made the playoffs in seven seasons and the Tigers, who are 6-3 entering the season, have put themselves in a great position to clinch a postseason berth.
A win Friday night coupled with a Herbert Hoover loss to Logan, and the Tigers can finish as high as ninth.
A loss doesn’t necessarily eliminate Chapmanville from postseason contention as they are one of seven teams: No. 13 Nicholas County, No. 14 Logan, No. 15 Weir, No. 16 Bluefield, No. 17 Point Pleasant and No. 18 Keyser are fighting for the remaining five spots in Class AA.
Five of the seven teams ranked 12th-18th in the Class AA playoff ratings will be in action Friday night, and four of the seven will be in action against ranked opponents. Weir (7-3) and Bluefield (5-5) are idle this week.
No. 13 Nicholas County (6-3) travels to Pikeview (4-5); No. 14 Logan (6-3) entertains No. 11 Herbert Hoover (6-2); No. 17 Point Pleasant will host No. 3 Winfield (8-1) and No. 18 Keyser (5-4) travels to No. 5 Frankfort (8-1).
A loss by any of the teams behind Chapmanville in the ratings would clinch a spot for the Tigers no matter the outcome of tonight’s game with Man, but if all four are victorious, then the Tigers will be scoreboard watching looking for one bonus point to clinch a playoff spot.
Chapmanville would need either a victory by Sissonville or Nitro to force a tie with Keyser for the final playoff spot in Class AA. Based on bonus points in class, Chapmanville would win the tiebreaker over Keyser.
“We are just concerned about Man. All other scenarios and situations are out of our control,” Barker said. “The only thing we can control is the game itself.”