Flag football season comes to an end
Thomas Dillon and Brian Kirkendoll For The Coal Valley News
The first season of the Chapmanville Flag Football league playoffs has come to an end with Zach Belcher and Brian Kirkendoll’s teams advancing to the championship round.
Kirkendoll’s team took the crown 28-27 over Zach Belchers “07” squad.
Both teams came out on a warm January night and they brought their “A” game.
Kirkendoll’s team came out fast with Chapmanville Super Sophomore Tanner Dillon catching and rushing the ball downfield for gains of 15, 22 and 36 yards. A Kirkendoll to Belcher came up short on the 9 yard line, on a strong defensive stand by “07” Stevens, Casto, Toler and Watts.
Todd Terry took over and a series of runs by Chris Davis, and clutch catches by Joey Stevens and Zach Belcher put C’ville 2007 team on the board. Belcher scored again on bubble screen and slant passes to go up 14-0.
After back and forth play, 2 - Michael Belcher from Brian Kirkendoll Tds and Xpts, tied the game .A great defensive play by Cody Loftus against Joey Stevens that resulted in Loftus getting busted nose, stopped the 1st half scoring.
The halftime score was 14-14.
The second half started out with wild runs by Michael Belcher and Cameron Loftus from Scott/Cville team. Mambo linemen helped put up big gains for the “07” squad. The student body, right with Chris Davis running for big gains, but no scores.
Kirkendoll running and scrambling and then dumping off shuffle passes to Tanner Dillon set up Michael Belcher doing a Hershel walker over the top leap that went over Zach Belcher and Jon Casto, for a 6yd TD.
Both benches emptied, in what was playing out to be a hard hitting, nerve wracked, emotionally charged championship. The.xpt failed and Kirkendoll’s team was up 20-14.
Time was running down after a few ball exchanges by both teams. It looked like Belchers team was caving into the constant defensive pressure from Josh Kirkendoll and Tyler Thompson. On 4th and 17 from the 33 Terry hit Zach Belcher with a simple 5 and out .Dillon timed the ball well but Belcher came down with it on the run and outran the whole team 67 yds. to go up 21-20 with 5:37 left in the game. Joey Stevens caught xp
All momentum was swinging toward Belchers “07” team. The constant pressure from bulldozer lineman John Toler and company kept Kirkendoll running for his life and not getting into the flow. Yet, it was the clutch 4th down catches and runs by Danny Halley from Scott HS that set the tone for the evenings greatest plays. Halley took a slant and went to sideline then cut back inside and then with a second effort made it to the 43 for a first down. Tanner Dillon, Cameron Loftus and clutch running by Michael Belcher on critical 3rd and 4th down conversions, as well as the trench warfare offensive blocking from Tyler Thompson and Tyler Brewster (twin towers) sealed the deal for the cville/scott team.
The game went down to the wire. D. Halley score on 32 yard pass from B. Kirkendoll with 1:48 left in the game .The critical xp play was a 10 yd. pass to Tyler Brewster who looked like he was going to go in unmolested till Zach Belcher met him with crushing hit. It was a penalty and both benches emptied again, yet it was unanimous call from both Refs that ball broke the goal line plain. Brewster scored the 2 pt. xpt to make it 28-21.
Todd Terry then took control. He selectively threaded the ball down the field with skilled time and field management. Davis left for 6, 12 and 8; pass to Stevens for 16 and another to Stevens, which was stopped short by B. Cox. Looked like game was over until ref snafu ruled that it was 3rd down instead of 4th, which new life was breathed into Belcher’s team.
With 7 seconds left to go in the game and no time outs Terry hit Chris Davis in back of end zone for 6 yd. TD. It was then 28-27. The fans at the stadium sensed the pressure and started cheering for their teams and doing what resembled the wave.
Terry and teammates went for the win instead of tie to force overtime. The tension was high. There was but 6.5 seconds on the clock. Both teams called their last remaining Timeouts. Terry scrambled for what seemed like 25 seconds on a bad foot and fired a bullet. Terry’s pass to John Toler at the goal line was once again broken up by Michael Belcher. Celebrations ensued.
Kirkendoll knelt on the ball to seal the win.
Zach Belcher had 14 receptions. 3 TDs and 3XPts to earn MVP.
The MVP was voted on by the board and team captains. Though his team lost, the respect he earned from the other teams warranted him the MVP.
League MVP was Nick Mullins and Michael Belcher, from the Madison areas.
The season started November 8th at Chapmanville’s Mullens Athletic complex. The first 4 games were played there. Then the next 3 games at Scott High Schools turf field. The playoffs continued till Jan 5th. The championship was under the Lights at Scott HS.
After regular season, there were six teams competing for championship.
End of season standings: Brian Kirkendoll (Cville/Madison) 6-3; Zach Belcher (Chapmanville) 5-4; Nick Mullens (Charleston) 7-1; Aaron Amburgy (Charleston) 4 -4; Brandon Wells, Logan 1-6; Tim Kirk, National Guard (Charleston) 0-6; Logan team 0-6; Police 0-6; Seniors 0-6.
Playoffs: quarter finals week 1: Kirkendoll 76, Wells28; Belcher 35, Kirk33; Mullins bye; and Amburgy bye.
Semi- finals week 2: Kirkendoll 40, Mullins 38; Belcher 35, Amburgy 31.
Finals week 3: Kirkendoll 28, Belcher 27.
It all came about by Brian Kirkendoll and I was sitting around one day reminiscing about playing in the 80s and 90s and we came to the conclusion there is a need for adult activities. Mayor Jerry Price from Chapmanville was on board and it took off.
Mayor Price gave us the go ahead to use the Sawmill field.
It was late in the year but the interest was high. In a week, we had 9 teams at first. We set up a quick schedule, developed rules and created a board, got flags and off it went. says Greg Dillon.
Each week we have had around 130 athletes from around the area. Plus their families, girlfriends, kids and friends came to watch.
Says Art KirkendolI, I enjoyed it! I could be sitting on my sofa watching NFL. But Watching these young men compete is very entertaining.
Many people can compete at a high level, way into their 30s and 40s.
I think they had a lot of fun and created a healthy and competitive lifestyle for people out of school who still have the athleticism to play in a fun sport.
I had a great time, says Danny Halley and Michael Belcher. We had a dismal senior season and playing for a championship, against adults and coaches we revere, made our senior year complete.
I’m not at all happy we lost, says Nick Mullins. But it was a great league and we are going to come to the spring league ready to regain our crown .I look around and see these great players and wonder what an all-star team we could have against other people from the northern part of the state.
*Nick Mullins team was last year’s Boone County flag Football champs that went 11-0.
Says John Toler and Tyler Thompson, we are playing against our peers and we are trying to get in better shape for these contests. I come from Fairmont to play and it’s great for getting me in shape for my senior season for the Falcons of Fairmont state.
Andy Dolan, ex-mayor of Madison, comments: “I walk the track every day and I’ve saw these different groups of men come to play ball. But Sunday’s game was different. You would have thought they were playing for a state title from the degree of competition that was displayed. There were fans in the stands. Kids watching their high school and previous high school heroes and a host of all-state and college talent to enjoy. There isn’t a lot for the kids and young adults to do. I respect Greg Dillon for using his imagination to create things that put positive energy into the county. Bringing in outside people to visit and boost economy is a priority. To tie in both counties is unheard of without Drama. Kudos to them.”
Comments Greg Dillon, “I enjoyed this a lot. We got to meet some great people and watch some wonderful athletes. Nick Mullins is a class act. Aaron Amburgy brings his effervescent attitude, his family and a host of skilled athletes to the table. Brandon Wells, Tim Ball and William Vance and son never missed a game and was full of energy. Cameron Loftus, Mike Belcher and Danny Halley are great kids that needed closure on a disappointing season and they got it. Art Kirkendoll is right. Life is much better off the couch!
“It’s our hope to have other leagues spring up around the area to gravitate toward a good social environment, healthy lifestyle and diverse sports. The sawmill field offers a host of possibilities. Flag Football and soccer is a small scenario of what could be introduced. Mixed men and women’s softball in the summer, peewee flag league, Midget league Football, rugby , lacrosse, fishing, outdoor basketball, outdoor volleyball, Horseshoes and whatnot for the elderly, or Church outdoor activities. It has limitless potential.”
The Spring Flag Football League will start in April.
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