Chargers on cusp of sixth title

Published 9:39 am Friday, November 20, 2015

During its nine-game winning streak, Isle of Wight has outscored its opponents by nearly 38 points per game. None of that matters when defending Virginia Independent School Athletic Association Division IV State Champion Roanoke Catholic comes to Hooper Field on Friday night.

“ It’s going to be a feeling-out process to start out with and we’re just going to have to see what they’ve got,” Isle of Wight head coach Dale Chapman said of the Celtics. “They’re a well-coached team that runs the Wing T, which is a lot of deception and moving the ball around a lot … We have got to play mistake-free football against this team. If we can play mistake-free football and play like we play and use our speed, I think we’ll be in good shape.”

The teams have not met since 2005, as Isle of Wight defeated Roanoke Catholic, 28-27, in the state semifinal. The Chargers won their first of three-consecutive and third-overall state championship one week later.

Prior to the season, Chapman talked about the expectations that surround his program. After two-straight disappointing 4-5 seasons, he was confident this year would be a turning point for the Chargers.

“Those kids look at the sign underneath the scoreboard that has all the state championships on it or they look at pictures and it feeds [those expectations],” Chapman said. “We kind of use that as a motivational tool. Every kid wants to win a state championship because they see the team won it this year and that year, but we’ve kind of gotten away from that and we’re in a whole new era where we need to make a name for ourselves and we have to start doing the things that we need to be doing.

“The past two years is basically unheard of,” he continued. “It’s been a big disappointment to me, our coaching staff and to the rest of the team. We want to get it back in the right direction, and I think we’re doing that. With the senior leadership we have, I think we have an opportunity to make the playoffs this year and get to the state championship, and we’re going to do everything we can do to get there.”