MAN — The Man Hillbillies are halfway there.
After recording a thrilling homecoming win over Class AA county rival Chapmanville a few weeks ago, the Man High School football team saw a golden opportunity.
With four games left in the regular season against Class A opponents, the Billies were looking to run the table and close out 9-1 with homefield advantage for the playoffs.
It’s now two down and two to go as Man blanked Pocahontas County 42-0 on Friday night at Man’s George A. Queen Memorial Field. The victory improved No. 5-ranked Man to 7-1 on the season with two more games left to play.
Man, a 36-6 winner at Sherman last week, is scheduled to travel to Tug Valley (3-5) this coming Friday night before closing out on Nov. 8 at home against the Van Bulldogs (3-5). Van was thrashed 50-22 at No. 9 Clay-Battelle on Friday while the Tug Valley Panthers were idle.
For the Billies, it was their seventh straight win. It also broke a three-year skid to Pocahontas County. Man lost a 7-6 heartbreaker to the Warriors last season on the road and also fell 13-7 and 21-0 to PC.
On Friday night, it was payback time.
Man’s defense was key to the win as the Billies allowed only 85 yards of total offense and just three first downs while forcing six Warrior fumbles resulting in five turnovers.
“It the best first half of defense I have seen since I have been here in four years,” Man defensive coordinator James Toth said. “Christain McCoy had his best game. He had three sacks and our linebacker was out in Robert Caudill and Tanner Bailey had a big game as did Gage Harvey and Jeremiah Beavers.”
In the meantime, Man’s offense racked up 337 yards of total offense and scored six touchdowns. The Billies had 21 first downs with 206 yards rushing and 131 more yards in the air.
Man head coach Harvey Arms was pleased with the win.
“Our kids played well all night long,” Arms said. “The defense was great, plus our offense and John Thomas Keffer had another great game along with Neil Mullins. Tanner Bailey, Tracy Jones and Christain McCoy had big games. You could name them all.”
Man’s defense held Pocahontas County to a three-and-out on the first drive.
The Billies then struck paydirt on their first drive of the game, marching 47 yards on seven plays, capped off by a tipped ball in the end zone for a touchdown. QB Keffer had found Cayce Mullins in the front of the end zone but the ball was tipped by Mullins into the arms of Jones who made the grab in the back of the end zone for a 16-yard TD grab. The two-point conversion failed as Man led 6-0 at the 7:21 mark of the first quarter.
The Billies would then capitalize on a Warriors’ turnover as Gage Harvey fell on a PCHS fumble at the 17-yard line.
Then on the next play from scrimmage, Mikle Scott Rowe ran down the sideline for a touchdown for a 17-yard TD run. Keffer ran in on the conversion play and the Billies led 14-0 with 3:48 showing on the first quarter clock.
Once again, Man’s defense was swarming to the ball like bees as McCoy got his first of three sacks on the evening. Man forced PC to punt and got the ball back with great field position at the Warrior 33-yard line.
Five plays later, Man’s Braden Griffin found the end zone on a 5-yard touchdown run. Keffer then hooked up with his cousin Cayce Mullins for the two-point conversion, pushing Man’s lead to 22-0 with 7:46 left until the intermission.
It was another disaster for the Pocahontas County offense on its next possession as the Warrirors fumbled the ball away as Bailey recovered the pigskin at the PC 40-yard stripe.
Man drove the ball to the PC 20 for a first down but a bad snap would push it back to the 36, forcing a Billies’ punt.
Coach Arms then elected to use a little trickery as the snap went to up man Mullins who then tossed a 36-yard touchdown strike to freshman Tyler Grimmett to make it a 30-0 ballgame with 4:51 to go.
The third quarter was then a defensive struggle for both teams and went scoreless.
Then with 10:23 left in the game, Man was in the end zone again with a 17-yard TD run by Keffer as he weaved his way to the goal line. The conversion play was no good and the Billies led 36-0.
Pocahontas County was then finally able to move the ball thanks to a 25-yard run by Judd Walter to the Man 25. But two plays later, the Warriors caughed up the football again and Man recovered at its own 15-yard line.
Seven plays later, the Billies would score their final touchdown of the night with Griffin’s 16-yard run to increase the margin to 42-0 with 3:42 remaining in the contest.
Coach Arms then called off the goats and put in his reserve players in the final three mintues.
Fullback Neil Mullins led Man with 110 yards rushing on 12 carries. Griffin had 66 yards on 11 attempts and two TDs. Rowe added another 33 yards on five carries and a touchdown.
Keffer was 8-for-18 passing for 95 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Cayce Mullins had three catches for 44 yards, while Jones had three grabs for 36 yards and a TD. Grimmett had the 36-yard touchdown catch.
Bailey led the Man defense with eight tackles and a fumble recovery. Noah Maynard had seven tackles, while McCoy had five tackles and three sacks. Harvey finished with five tackles and a fumble recovery.
Thomas Holt added five tackles and a sack for the Billies. Rowe also had five tackles, while Jones had four. Beavers had three tackles and a fumble revovery. Cayce Mullins contributed two tackles and a fumble recovery.
Grimmett had two tackles and Austin Compton had a sack.
— Logan Banner Sports Editor Paul Adkins contributed to this report.
2013 Man High School
Football Schedule (7-1):
Aug. 30: Logan, L 20-40
Sept. 6: at Mount View, W 44-0
Sept. 13: at Westside, W 22-14
Sept. 20: River View (Hall of Fame Game), W 46-8
Sept. 27: OPEN DATE
Oct. 4: at Fayetteville, W 30-25
Oct. 11: Chapmanville (Homecoming), W 26-22
Oct. 18: at Sherman, W 36-6
Oct. 25: Pocahontas County, W 42-0
Nov. 1: at Tug Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 8: Van, 7:30 p.m.