This week’s game between Mingo Central and Chapmanville will be the first grid iron meeting of the two schools.
Now that the Miners have joined the Cardinal Conference, it will be the first of many future contests.
Chapmanville (4-3) comes into the game ranked No. 17 in Class 2A, so if the playoffs were to have started this week, they would have been on the outside looking in.
Meanwhile, Mingo Central comes into the contest at Chapmanville ranked No. 14 and coach Yogi Kinder’s squad is trying to make the playoffs for the second straight season. Last year they made it into the post season with a 5-5 mark, but were beaten by a good Keyser team in the first round.
This is Mingo Central’s third year of existence after becoming a consolidation of Williamson, Matewan, Burch and Gilbert. They also finished 5-5 in their first season, but did not have enough points to make it into the top 16.
The Miners are coming off a 68-14 pounding of Poca last week and now have a record of 4-2.
The Miners rolled up 487 yards of total offense last week at Poca, including 374 on the ground. Seven different Miners scored touchdowns and the offense only punted once on 11 possessions. Mingo Central outgained the Dots 487-180 in total yards. The Miners rushed 36 times for 374 yards. Poca had 46 attempts for 168 yards.
“They are pretty tough,” Chapmanville coach George Barker said of the Miners. “They are pretty physical and they have all the tools offensively to be explosive so we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
With the winner getting to five wins and with only a few weeks left in the regular season it’s a big game for both teams.
“It’s a typical Cardinal Conference game,” Barker said. “We’ve got a great opponent. In order to win we have to play assignment football. Everyone has to do what they are supposed to do. Mistakes are always going to be the difference in the ballgame.”
Kinder, Mingo Central’s third-year coach, was pleased with his team’s performance last week.
“We haven’t ever scored 60 points. Everybody comes to practice and everybody needs to play. I’m just happy for our guys. That is what it is all about,” Kinder said after the game.
The Miners have improved greatly this season, only losing to Class AA powers No. 1 Wayne (40-12) and No. 8 Wyoming East (27-26) in the season opener. Mingo Central has wins this season over Tolsia (20-19), Webster County (45-24) and Westside (22-8).
Mingo Central has achieved balance this year with its offensive attack. Sophomore Deonte Joplin leads the team with 356 yards rushing on 62 carries for a 5.7 yard average. He has scored five touchdowns. Chance Lester has 317 yards on 47 attempts with five TDs. He averages 6.7 yards a carry. Senior fullback Dakweon Willis has 260 yards on 45 carries for a 5.8 average and four TDs, while sophomore quarterback Stevie Hammond has 167 yards on 46 totes and five rushing TDs.
Hammond is 37-62 passing for 638 yards, eight TDs and six interceptions.
Senior Alex “Booger” Lee has caught 16 passes for 374 yards and four TDs.
“I’m old school,” Kinder said. “I like to run it. My other coaches like to pass it. They watch too much television. Balance is what we kind of look for.”
Chapmanville, which fell from No. 13 to 17th in the state in this week’s Class 2A rankings, lost a 26-22 heartbreaker at Class A No. 6 and county rival Man last Friday.
The Tigers had a 22-20 lead late until Man went ahead with a touchdown and then secured the victory by intercepting a Chapmanville pass on the Man 10-yard line in the final minute of the game.
“We have to recognize what sets they are in,” Tiger coach George Barker said. “We have to play assignment and we have to understand what they do in each of their sets and what are the possibilities. We have to be in the right place and we have to read the right key.”
On the season, sophomore Alex Berry is 49-for-85 passing for 781 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions.
Devin Wiley has 118 rushes for 620 yards and five touchdowns. Workman has 96 carries for 322 yards and five scores.
Brady Cox has 27 catches for 514 yards on the season and four touchdowns for Chapmanville. Zac Casto has 13 grabs for 284 yards and five TDs. Jacob Dingess has reeled in 13 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns.
The winner of this Cardinal Conference matchup will get win No. 5 and will have a big boost in the playoff ratings. The losing team will see their post-season chances diminished somewhat.
The game is Senior Night for Chapmanville and is set for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff time at Tiger Stadium..