CHAPMANVILLE — The Chapmanville and Logan high school football teams only had two days to prepare for each other.
After seeing their first three games canceled due to COVID-19 concerns the rival Wildcats and Tigers were happy to see each other and play a game of any kind.
Chapmanville made the most of the quick work week by topping county rival Logan, 20-6, in Saturday’s rare afternoon matinee in the delayed season opener for both teams.
The replacement game was announced just on Thursday after Logan County teams were given the go-ahead to play. Logan and Chapmanville were already scheduled to play each other on Oct. 23 at Chapmanville.
Logan (0-1), which struggled through a 1-9 season a year ago, lost for the 10th time in its last 11 games and dropped its seventh straight to the Tigers, which lead 12-8 in the all-time series dating back to 2001.
Saturday’s victory was a milestone win for Chapmanville first-year coach James Barker, who was making his head coaching debut for the Tigers. Barker, 35, had been a longtime assistant coach under former coach Rob Dial and before that, his father George Barker, now one of his assistants.
“It was nice just to get to play,” James Barker said. “I told our guys on Thursday and Friday that I know that you are excited about playing but we can’t just be satisfied with that. We knew that we had to come out here and perform and for the most part, they did a great job. I’m proud of their effort. They played well.”
Chapmanville (1-0) got a blue collar effort from running back Jaxson Turner who bulled his way for 110 yards on 30 carries and scored a touchdown.
Barker said it was the Tigers’ game plan to take it right to the Wildcats and win the game in the trenches.
“A two-day game plan is crazy but we knew what our game plan was going to be,” he said. “We are bigger and a little bit stronger than our opponent here today. It wasn’t flashy and it wasn’t pretty football but we got the win. We know Logan really well and we know those kids and the coaching staff. It was nice that we got to play them. We’ve been watching film from them from 2016 on. They’ve got the same kind of offense that they’ve had in years past.”
Up 20-6 at the half, Logan, behind the passing of quarterback Jordan Hayes, looked to get the Wildcats back in it.
However, the Chapmanville defense was able to foil three Logan drives within the Tigers’ red zone.
Early in the third quarter, Logan had a first-and-10 at the Logan 20-yard line, but Hayes’ pass was intercepted in the end zone by Alex Miller.
Then in the early moments of the fourth quarter, Logan was on the Chapmanville 8-yard line, but a fourth-and-one running play by Koltie Goldie was stopped short of the sticks.
Chapmanville later fumbled the ball away at the Logan 28 but the Wildcats were halted again as a fourth-and-17 pass at the 19 by Hayes and intended for Aiden Slack, was batted down by the Tigers at the 1-yard line with 4:20 left in the game.
“To hold Logan to six points is amazing,” Barker said. “(Defensive Coordinator) Zach Belcher did a great job. Our kids buckled down. It was a great job of our kids being prepared on such a short notice.”
Chapmanville went up 6-0 at the 8:51 mark of the first quarter with fullback Josh Atwood’s 6-yard touchdown run. The PAT kick by Evan Plumley was no good.
Logan then answered with an 8-yard Goldie TD run with 5:15 to go in the first quarter, tying the game up at 6-6. The two-point conversion failed.
The Tigers then went ahead for good with 9:42 left until halftime on Turner’s 3-yard TD run. The conversion failed but CRHS led 12-6.
Logan then fumbled the ball away on its next drive as freshman RJ Jones recovered at the Logan 48.
Twelve plays later, quarterback Brody Dalton reached the end zone on a 4-yard TD run with 58 seconds to go until halftime. The drive was kept alive on a pass interference penalty by Logan on a fourth down play.
Logan third-year coach Jimmy Sheppard said he was happy to get a game in.
“We were eager to play,” Sheppard said. “You just don’t know when you are actually going to be able to play a game this year so you just have to play when you can but that makes it super hard to prepare. We had a last minute notice on this and we had two or three players that didn’t get to play tonight because they were out of town.”
Chapmanville was scheduled to host Herbert Hoover next Friday, Oct. 2, while Logan was slated to host Nitro. Those games, however, were canceled as Kanawha County was orange and Putnam County yellow on the state’s updated and all-important COVID map on Saturday. Neither Nitro or Hoover have played a game yet this season.
Logan, Mingo, Fayette, Summers and Marshall counties were the gold counties.
Chapmanville and Logan are allowed to play again next week and have added replacement games.
Chapmanville will now travel to Summers County on Friday, Oct. 2, while Logan is set to travel to Tug Valley. Both games have 7:30 p.m. starting times.
“We have to get in some games when we can,” Sheppard said. “We’re not too beat up. We have a couple of bumps and bruises.”
Saturday’s game was played before a small crowd of about 100 fans. Only parents are guardians of players, cheerleaders and band members were allowed to attend.
Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. Follow him on Twitter at @PAdkinsBanner or email him at email@example.com.