CHAPMANVILLE – The rival Chapmanville Tigers and the Scott Skyhawks have been pure enigma football teams this season.
They’ve been Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
You just don’t know which team is going to show up.
That makes for an interesting back story for Friday night’s clash as the Chapmanville Regional High School football team is scheduled to host rival Scott at Chapmanville’s Tiger Stadium in the renewal of the “Corridor G Bowl.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Both teams enter the game tied in the Cardinal Conference standings at 1-1 overall and 1-1 in the league.
Both the Tigers and Skyhawks enter the game under similar circumstances as the West Virginia high school football season reaches Week 3.
Both have shown flashes of brilliance and offensive explosiveness but also major inconsistencies.
Take Chapmanville, for example.
The Tigers went slowly out of the gate in Week 1, trailing Sissonville 40-6 before scoring a pair of late touchdowns and two-point conversions and losing 40-22 to the Indians.
Then last week at Herbert Hoover, Chapmanville grabbed an 8-0 lead with Devin Wiley’s 62-yard touchdown burst. The Tigers then trailed 12-8 at the half and 18-8 in the third before rallying for two touchdowns and two two-point conversions to pull out the 24-18 win over the Huskies at Falling Rock.
“In the first week we were going a different direction so to speak,” Chapmanville coach George Barker said. “But last week, that was a team win. We grew up a little bit.”
Scott has also been a mystery.
The Skyhawks built a 16-point first-half lead at Hoover in Week 1, only to get upset by the Huskies, 40-35.
Then last week at home, Scott allowed struggling Lincoln County, a team with a 12-game losing skid, touchdown runs of 70 and 75 yards to fall into a 14-13 deficit. The Skyhawks then came back strong to defeat the Panthers 46-21 on the Madison Field Turf.
Scott, known the last few years more for its running attack and at times its Wildcat offensive sets, have shown more balance this fall.
The Skyhawks were led last week by running back Cameron Loftus, who rushed for 172 yards on just 13 carries and scored five touchdowns. He kicked off the Lincoln County game with fireworks as he raced to the end zone for a 60-yard score on the first play from scrimmage. He scored on TD runs of 9 and 14 yards over the span of only three minutes to give Scott a cushion at the half. Loftus also went in for a 65-yard touchdown in the second half.
Scott has also been getting the job done in the air, led by quarterback Cody Brown. The signal-caller was 17-for-30 passing for 256 yards against Hoover and ended up 8-for-15 passing for 150 yards against the Panthers.
Scott coach Shane Griffith had praise for both Loftus and Brown.
“Cody Brown is a senior leader, he’s on the basketball team so he’s been in a lot of big games in both sports,” Griffith told the Charleston Gazette. “He’s worked real hard this offseason on his arm strength and he throws a nice pass. We’ve got a lot of versatility to work with. Cameron is a senior. He’s worked his hind end off for four years. He was special honorable mention all-state player last year and there’s a lot of expectations on him. He’s just a downhill runner.”
Both Chapmanville and Scott tweaked its offenses last week.
Chapmanville went no-huddle at Herbert Hoover in an effort to speed up the tempo. Scott also upped the tempo against Lincoln County.
“It was on me,” Griffith said about the Skyhawks’ tempo. “We’ve used a style of offense over the last decade that is a slow-paced offense. This year we’re going with a dynamic, upbeat pace and we didn’t adjust our conditioning to compensate for it. We learned last week. Tonight we were able to do a little bit of platooning in the first half, we got some extra guys on the field, and I think it gave us some extra gas in the third quarter and it was huge for us.”
Loftus’ other touchdown in the first half was from 1 yard out while brother Codie Loftus scored a 17-yard rushing touchdown. Triston Crone added a score from 12 yards out in the second half for the Skyhawks. Crone added 75 rushing yards on 11 carries. Michael Belcher hauled in five passes for 92 yards.
Scott’s defense held the Panthers to just one completion and nine passing yards.
Barker said Scott has a lot of weapons.
“I think that they’ve got really good skilled people,” he said. “They make you play from sideline to sideline. We’ll have to be able to defend the pass as well as the run. The only thing is that our twos will have to be ready to play if we get into a type of game that is like a track meet. It’s hard to play both ways, so we’ll have to play more people.”
The Tigers scored the eventual game winner last week with 1:57 left in the game as Paul Workman scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to put CRHS ahead 22-18. Chapmanville then tacked on two more points as quarterback Alex Berry passed to Brady Cox in the end zone on the conversion play to make it 24-18.
Chapmanville’s no-huddle seemed to surprise the Huskies.
“We’ve been able to do that but we had wanted to slow things down a bit for our new quarterback and let the game come to him. He’s doing a super job,” Barker said of Berry. “We put things in progression and that was the normal progression last week. (Offensive coordinator) James (Barker) understands a little of what the kids know. That’s a good combination.”
Barker said his offense has to sustain drives and keep the ball away from Scott’s explosive offense.
“We have to be able to take care of the football, have ball security and keep them from making the big plays,” he said. “We stripped the ball away last week and that’s what worked for us and were able to take advantage of their mistakes. We just hope that we’re in the ballgame at the end.”
Wiley led the Chapmanville offense last week with 18 carries for 133 yards, including a touchdown and a conversion. He also had one catch out of the backfield for 22 yards.
Paul Workman rolled up 76 yards on 25 carries including a score.
Berry, making his second varsity start, was 5-for-14 passing for 73 yards and an interception.
Cox reeled in three passes for 45 yards and a TD. He also had two kickoff returns for 44 yards and scored on two conversions.
On the Chapmanville defense, Nick Brumfield was the leader with eight solo tackles, two assists and a fumble recovery. Cox finished with seven solo tackles and one assist.
On the season, Berry is 19-for-35 passing for 207 yards with two TDs and three interceptions.
Wiley has 35 carries for 196 yards and a TD so far. Workman has 37 carries for 136 yards and two scores. Cox has eight catches for 80 yards and a touchdown. Zac Casto has four grabs for 52 yards and two TDs.
On defense, Matt Dingess has 13 solo tackles and three assists. Casto has 11 solos and four assists, while Cox has 12 solos and one assist and Matt Chapman has 10 solos and four assisted stops. Brumfield has 12 solos and two assists.
Punter Caleb Browning has kicked the ball eight times this season for an average of 33.9 yards a boot.
Scott, which won 40-21 at home over Chapmanville last season, leads the series with the Tigers 8-5 since 2000. The two teams have split in the last four years.
Scott won six straight over Chapmanville from 2001-06 before the Tigers scored a 21-20 upset in 2007 over the then Jordan Roberts-led Skyhawks at home.
The biggest blowout in the recent series was in 2010 when playoff-bound Chapmanville took Scott to the toolshed for a 62-20 spanking.
“I’m old because I played in it,” Barker joked about the Chapmanville-Scott rivalry. “We have been playing football since the 1950s. It’s been Week 3 as long as I can remember. It’s a short drive from Madison to Chapmanville. Over the years it has developed into a great rivalry game. It’s what high school athletics is all about. Last year, we went to their town and this year they are coming to ours. I expect a big crowd.”
Barker said the Scott game has always been huge.
“It’s a typical rival,” he said. “You are going to play a lot of close ones and every now and then it will be lopsided. Usually it’s a very good football game.”
Barker said the Tigers are in good shape injury-wise heading into the contest.
“As far as I know we just have the normal bumps and bruises but we have a couple of kids that are questionable,” he said. “We’ll just wait and see. For the most part we are good to go.”
With the NFL concussion lawsuits making headlines over the summer football at all levels is trying to make the game safer for the players.
Officials are cracking down on the lowering of helmets and spearing.
“In the NFL they have proven that you just don’t know all there is to know about head injuries,” Barker said. “We always are on the side of caution. When they have the symptoms we’re going to treat it like it is a concussion. They are going to get the proper medical care from the medical staff. Nowadays in high school football we (the coaches) don’t diagnose injuries. That’s a good thing. That goes to the professional trainers and the medical staff. It’s a collision sport but at least our kids wear helmets and protection. In some sports like soccer and basketball they don’t have any gear. We just have to make sure that we are taking care of the kids.”
Chapmanville-Scott Football Series
Since 2000 (Scott leads 8-5):
2012: Scott 40, Chapmanville 21
2011: Chapmanville 20, Scott 16
2010: Chapmanville 62, Scott 20
2009: Scott 32, Chapmanville 8
2008: Chapmanville 16, Scott 7
2007: Chapmanville 21, Scott 20
2006: Scott 33, Chapmanville 0
2005: Scott 33, Chapmanville 0
2004: Scott 20, Chapmanville 6
2003: Scott 18, Chapmanville 0
2002: Scott 42, Chapmanville 34
2001: Scott 26, Chapmanville 0
2000: Chapmanville 18, Scott 15