CHAPMANVILLE — The Chapmanville Regional High School football team’s backs are against the proverbial wall.
Mingo Central dealt the Tigers a crushing blow last week as the Miners leap-frogged Chapmanville into third place in the Cardinal Conference standings and improved their playoff standing with a 20-14 win at CRHS.
The Tigers still have a possible pathway to the Class AA post-season but Chapmanville has to win, not once, but twice in Wayne County in consecutive weeks.
This Friday, fourth-place Chapmanville, 4-4 overall and 3-2 in the conference, must win at fifth-place Tolsia, 3-4, 2-3.
Then on Nov. 1 in Chapmanville’s regular season finale, the Tigers must win over the West Virginia state juggernaut Wayne. The Pioneers (7-0, 5-0) are ranked No. 1 in the conference and No. 1 in the state and are the two-time defending Class AA state champions.
Kickoff for Friday night’s game is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Tolsia High School football field in Glenhayes.
Chapmanville and Tolsia appear to be evenly matched.
The Tigers have won three out of the last four meetings but the Rebels were able to come away with a 40-32 victory at Chapmanville last season and are showing signs of turning around a program that played Wayne in the 2006 Class AA state championship game.
The Rebels began the season with a 28-0 loss at rival Wayne and then fell in a 20-19 heartbreaker at home to Mingo Central before getting trounced 52-0 at Sissonville in Week 3. Tolsia then won 24-20 over Herbert Hoover and 34-13 over Class A Tug Valley in a non-conference contest before falling 38-26 at Roane County.
Tolsia won 14-13 at Scott last week, rallying back from a 13-0 deficit after three quarters to score two fourth period touchdowns on its final two drives to win it.
The clincher for the Rebels was a 7-yard TD run by sophomore Luke Presley with just 1:53 left in the game. Presley returned recently to the lineup after suffering an injury.
“They have beat the same teams that we have beat,” Chapmanville coach George Barker said of the Rebels. “They played Mingo Central real close. I would think that we’re looking for another hard fought Cardinal Conference game. We’ve got to try to find a way to win.”
Tolsia coach Mike Smith said his team has played the role of the underdog all year.
“These kids fight odds,” Smith told the Charleston Gazette. “We’re small, we’re not big, we’re young — I’ve got a grand total of eight juniors and seniors combined — I play two freshmen on the offensive line … The only thing I can say is they played their butts off and played very hard. I’m very proud of them.”
Tolsia’s stingy defense held the Cardinal Conference’s leading rusher, Cameron Loftus, to only 16 rushes for 16 yards last week. As a team, Scott had only 23 yards on 27 carries — less than a yard per pop.
Wes Waller, a senior, made his first start at quarterback last week for the Rebels, replacing sophomore Blake Rose. He accounted for one of Tolsia’s two second-half scores with a 9-yard TD pass to Nathan Marshall and helped orchestrate the Rebels’ new power-oriented offense. Tolsia had problems moving the ball in the first half as the Rebels had only 68 yards of total offense.
“What a ballgame — just a heck of a game,” Smith said. “We moved Waller in there this week and he did a tremendous job considering he had one week to get ready.”
Tolsia’s top rusher is senior Brandon Ward, who rolled up 87 yards on the ground on 16 carries against the Skyhawks. Sophomore Jennings Holland added 31 yards on eight carries for Tolsia, all in the second half, and provided a big spark for the offense.
Tolsia outgained Scott 232-220 in total yards of offense. The Rebels rushed 58 times for 201 yards and passed for 31 more. Scott had 197 yards in the air in addition to its paltry 23 yards on the ground. Waller was just 3-for-12 passing.
“They had about 200 yards on the ground last week,” Barker said of Tolsia. “They will grind it out. I think they are a lot better defensively than they are offensively. They’ve played everyone on their schedule tough. They played Wayne a good game in the first game of the season. We’ve got our work cut out for us. But that’s the way that it’s been all year. We’ve played everybody pretty well. We’ve just got to find a way to win them.”
Chapmanville blew a 14-8 halftime lead last week against Mingo Central as the Miners reached the end zone twice in the second half and held off the Tigers.
“We just couldn’t make plays when we had to make them,” Barker said. “We have them in a third down situation but they had a screen pass. We didn’t play assignment football very well but they made plays when they had to to win. We had it down there to have a chance to tie it up but we couldn’t put it in the end zone.”
Junior tailback Devin Wiley led Chapmanville as he ran for 109 yards on 25 carries last week. QB Alex Berry was 9-for-17 passing for 70 yards and one pick. WR Brady Cox had six catches for 44 yards and a touchdown. Paul Workman added 11 rushes for 82 yards and a TD.
On the season, Berry is 58-for-102 passing (56.9 percent completion rate) for 851 yards with nine touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Wiley has rushed for 729 yards on 143 carries (5.1 ypc.) and five scores. Workman has 404 yards on the ground on 107 carries and a team-best six scores.
Cox has reeled in 33 passes for 558 yards and five touchdowns. Zac Casto, a junior receiver, has 13 catches for 284 yards and five TDs. Jacob Dingess has another 15 grabs for 167 yards and two scores.
Matt Dingess is Chapmanville’s leading tackler with 51 solos and 17 assists. Casto has 48 solos and 19 assists, while Matt Chapman has 42 solos and 18 assists and Nick Brumfield has 41 solos and 12 assisted stops.
Cox leads the team in interceptions with two. Dingess has three sacks to lead the Tigers.
Wiley has punted 11 times for an average of 31.6 yards per kick.
The Tigers have a few injuries heading into the ballgame, Barker said.
“Tanner Dillon banged up his hand and Paul Workman twitched his knee a little bit,” Barker said. “Jacob Dingess also has a bit of an injury and Matt Dingess has a banged up elbow.”
Chapmanville-Tolsia Football Series
Since 2000 (Tolsia leads 5-3):
2012: Tolsia 40, Chapmanville 32
2011: Chapmanville 49, Tolsia 20
2010: Chapmanville 59, Tolsia 12
2009: Chapmanville 33, Tolsia 16
2005: Tolsia 27, Chapmanville 0
2004: Tolsia 27, Chapmanville 0
2003: Tolsia 41, Chapmanville 12
2002: Tolsia 41, Chapmanville 6