Locked in a scoreless game late in the second quarter, and with two of its top players having already limped off the field, Sissonville needed a spark. Jackson Foster provided it.
The junior quarterback-running back and Ripley transfer entered the game in the second quarter and broke off several long gains to assist scoring drives as the Indians debuted with a 24-8 victory against Chapmanville Thursday night at University of Charleston Stadium.
The game was played in Charleston because the finishing touches are being put on Sissonville’s new artificial turf field.
Foster turned in chunk plays on all three of Sissonville’s touchdown drives and finished as his team’s leading rusher with 119 yards on 10 carries.
“He’s a very explosive football player,’’ said Indians coach Marc Wilson. “We were glad to have him out there. He’s been dealing with some injuries, that sort of thing coming into this week, and we knew he’d be limited in what his role could be, but he’s definitely a very explosive football player.’’
Wilson and his coaching staff actually had to be very resourceful with their game plan Thursday because several key skill position players kept leaving the game with either leg cramps or injuries.
Early in the second quarter, Sissonville had already lost two of its more experienced skill players. Running back and linebacker Gavin Shamblin suffered a knee injury on his team’s seventh offensive play and didn’t return. Then runner-receiver Dylan Griffith (10 carries, 52 yards) went down with cramps and also hobbled off, though he did return and leave multiple times in the game.
Elijah Thompson, a 220-pound junior running back who scored on a 23-yard run and added 81 yards on nine carries, departed in the third quarter with leg cramps and didn’t return.
“We actually came into the year through the scrimmages and tried to play as many guys as we possibly could,’’ Wilson said, “because we’ve suffered the injury train throughout the year. So we figured coming into the season we had to be prepared for those situations, and tonight it paid off. We needed it.’’
Parker Shamblin, making his first start at quarterback for the Indians, hit on 9 of 20 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns, finding Nick Haning on a 29-yarder and Austin Fisher on a 51-yarder. The latter toss made it 24-0 late in the third period as Fisher made a double move on the defensive backs to catch the ball on the left sideline and cut back across the field to score.
Earlier in the third quarter, Wyatt Ervin booted a 24-yard field goal to put the Indians up 17-0.
Chapmanville got on the board with 4:57 left when Josh Bumgarner scored on a 19-yard run and Chase Berry tacked on the conversion run. Berry led the Tigers offense, gaining 120 yards on 19 carries and completing 9 of 19 passes for 70 yards.
At halftime, Sissonville held a 14-0 lead, scoring twice late in the second quarter.
The first touchdown came by moving 76 yards in nine plays, as Thompson tallied on a second and 3 carry from the Tigers 23 with 4:25 left before halftime. That score was set up when the Indians’ Jacob Carter recovered a fumble at his own 26 following a big hit by Jameson Shaffer on a 22-yard pass play from Chapmanville’s Berry to Brody Dalton.
Following a Chapmanville punt, the Indians drove 68 yards in four plays, with Foster ripping off a 34-yard gain to the 29 and Parker Shamblin finding a lunging Haning in the end zone on the next play despite double coverage with 1:04 to go in the first half.
Foster, who didn’t carry until midway into the second quarter, ended the first half with 64 yards on five carries. On the first TD drive, he donated runs of 15 and 9 yards. On the second, a 34-yarder and on the third, a 16-yarder.
Cole Hughart had two of the four quarterback sacks turned in by the Sissonville defense.
Sissonville visits Logan next Friday, and Chapmanville travels to Poca the same night.