Last season, the Chapmanville Regional Tigers finished with a 7-4 record, including an appearance in the first round of the Class AA playoffs.
Gone are some talented players as well as former head coach James Barker. However, enter new head coach Zach Belcher to go along with a lot of talented athletes.
Belcher, who was a long-time assistant before taking over as head coach, is very optimistic about this season.
“We have a lot of guys battling for positions right now,” said Belcher. “Last season, we had a lot of success. We lost some key players, but we also return a lot of starters on both sides of the ball. We’re still returning a pretty good group. We battled a lot of adversity last season, but we made the playoffs and gave Fairmont Senior everything we had.”
KEY LOSSES: Brody Dalton, Kohl Farmer, Adam Mullins, Jacob Blair, Jacob Topping
The Tigers plan on running a balanced approach on offense. While Chapmanville will have several younger players in the skill positions, but Belcher feels like they can step in and perform well.
“They say that iron sharpens iron,” said Belcher. “And I would put our guys up against anyone on our schedule this year. Everything is a competition right now. We have an idea about a couple of guys right now, but we don’t know what everyone can do. Last year, we knew how the quarterback and running back was, but now we’ve lost those key positions. We’re just having battles for positions now to see who wants what.”
The Tigers had at least 35 kids in the weight room the entire offseason, and Belcher feels that will really pay off.
“We have some younger guys really pushing some of the older guys for playing time,” he said. “So, we can rotate and not really see a drop off. We have a good rotation going on right now. Offensively, we’re going to run the ball. We’re going to come right at you. Then, we’ll take our shots when we can.”
On defense, the Tigers will play a physical style and attack opposing offenses.
“We’re going to try to cause as many turnovers as we can and put the ball on the ground,” said Belcher. “We do not shy away from contact. We’ll come at you and hit as hard as we can.”
The Tigers play in the always strong Cardinal Conference and will have competitive games week after week. Belcher says that making sure they are physically ready to play will be a huge key to success.
“The game of football is going to ask a lot of their bodies,” explained Belcher. “So, I need them to do what’s needed to take care of themselves and be in condition. We don’t need to go into our first contest against Sissonville and be out of shape. I’m asking them to be ready from the first game. The Cardinal Conference is tough, and there are a lot of good teams. We need to be able to play each week.”
8/25 – @Sissonville
9/01 – @Poca
9/08 – Winfield
9/15 – @Nitro
9/22 – Scott
9/29 – @Herbert Hoover
10/13 – Wayne
10/20 – @Logan
10/27 – Mingo Central
11/03 – Man
The communities of Chapmanville and Harts have worked hard to build a strong football program over the years. Belcher’s approach has been to build the program brick by brick. Even though, the Tigers lost some key players, the program has been strong for a while now. Don’t be surprised if they’re right in the mix to make the playoffs again this season.