CHAPMAN – When you have one of the best running backs in your school’s history, you feed him the ball and that is exactly what head coach Kurt Webster dialed up for the Chapman Fighting Irish in its week nine playoff victory over Smoky Valley 50-20 in Chapman Friday night.
The Irish handed the ball to its hungry down-hill runner senior Eli Riegel forty times in the game. Riegel powered his way for 274 yards and four touchdowns including a 63-yard jaunt in the second half of the game. Riegel’s big run helped Chapman pull away from the Vikings late in the game.
Chapman ran the ball 55 times for 426 yards rushing. Junior quarterback Nick Anderson kept the ball four times for 32 yards and a score. Anderson also went one of three and he found senior Trevor Mead for a 20-yard touchdown pass. Mead also scored on the ground for the Irish as he put up 62 yards on six carries. Senior Tate Milton added 58 yards on five totes.
Smoky Valley took the early lead in the game with a touchdown in the opening period before came back with two second period scores for a 14-6 halftime lead. The Viking put up eight points in the third quarter to tie the score before Chapman added a score to go up 20-14 to send the game to the final 12 minutes of action. That fourth period belonged to the Irish as the offense took control to score 30 points for the big win.
Senior Mason Barnum led the Irish defense with 10 tackles with a pass deflection and he caused a Viking fumble that was recovered by sophomore DJ Messerly. Senior Brent Golden had six solo tackles and Milton added five for the winning Irish. Seniors Torin Cavanaugh, Colt Sell and Anderson helped with four stops each while senior David Morgan and Meade had three each.
Chapman (7-2) now travels to unbeaten Southeast of Saline (9-0) on Friday for regional competition.