RED JACKET – Mingo Central raced past the Man Hillbillies 30-14 Friday night in the first-ever John Fry Bowl at James H. Buck “Harless” Stadium.
The game was played in honor of John Fry, the young Miners assistant coach, who passed away unexpectedly last summer.
Senior Joe May scored four touchdowns, two long punt returns and two rushing TDs to once again lead the Miners to victory.
Sophomore Chance Lester also had a good game with a key touchdown and a late interception.
Mingo Central scored first with 6:13 left in the first quarter after a strong defensive stand, which led to a blocked punt. Two plays after taking over the football May broke through for a 62-yard touchdown on a “jet pass” play where quarterback Stevie Hammond flips a short pass to May. The play is similar to what WVU runs with Geno Smith and Tavon Austin.
It worked to perfection, and with May’s speed, he was off to the races.
After another good defensive stand, the Miners forced the Hillbillies to punt. May fielded the punt, found a crease, and dashed 70 yards for the TD. The conversion failed, but MCHS led 12-0 with 3:53 left in the first quarter.
Backed up in their own territory late in the first quarter, the Miners were forced to punt. A high snap saw the pigskin sail into the end zone and Man’s Marcus Murrell jumped on it for a touchdown. The conversion was stopped, but the visitors cut the lead to 12-6 at the end of the initial quarter.
With 10:58 left in the second quarter, Mingo Central had a 4th and inches for a first down near midfield. Most everyone thought that the Miners would like run a quarterback sneak to gain the half a foot it need for a first down. But instead, offensive coordinator Joey Fields called for a dive play to the left side and Lester hit pay-dirt from 53 yards out to give Mingo Central an 18-6 lead. The conversion failed, but the Miners increased their lead.
With 3:40 left in the half, Man quarterback John Keefer hit a streaking Tracy Jones down the sideline for a nice 41 yard TD pass. Keefer connected with tight end Gage Harvey for the 2-point conversion to cut the lead to 18-14.
Mingo Central threatened to score late in the second quarter when Hammond broke free for a nice TD run, but it was called back because of a block in the back.
In the third quarter, both team traded possessions and the defenses for both squads played tough.
With 2:51 left in the third, it was May getting into the end zone again, this time for 10 yards away. The speedy all-purpose back broke a couple of tackles on the right side and to hit pay-dirt and this game his team some breathing room.
Mingo Central’s defense continued to step up big. Brandon Blankenship had a big sack in the quarter. Alex Lee had a tackle for a loss and the Miner’s defense as a whole played strong.
Man continued to fight back, but just couldn’t get over the hump. Several penalties hurt the Billies as they tried to move the football on offense.
With 9:25 left in the game, May scooped up another Man punt, and sprinted 73 yard for his second punt return of the evening. The conversion pass failed, but MCHS increased the lead to 30-14 and held on to win their third consecutive game.
May, a returning all-stater, rushed for 185 yards and had 375 all-purpose yards. His touchdown total for the season continues to rise. This is the second time he has scored four TDs in a game.
Lester rushed for 59 yards and a TD, while Hammond was 5-10 passing for 104 yards.
Head coach Yogi Kinder praised his team’s toughness and strong defensive play. He was also please the Miners were able to win the John Fry Bowl. Fry played for Kinder at Matewan, became an assistant coach for him at that school, and then helped Mingo Central in their inaugural season.
“We wanted to win for him (Fry),” Fields said. “ He cared about people. We know this means a lot to his family.”
The first John Fry Bowl trophy was presented to the team at the end of the game. Fry’s family, along with Tyler Hatfield, a Mingo Central student, who also passed away last year, were presented with signs honoring the two individuals. A similar sign will also be erected at the stadium.
Mingo Central, ranked No. 12 in Class AA last week, is now 3-1 on the season. They will travel to Wayne this Friday night.
Man, coached by Harvey Arms, is now 1-4 and will host Fayetteville this week.
Score by Quarters:
Man ….. 6 8 0 0 - 14
Mingo …12 6 6 6 – 30