MAN — After this week’s homecoming showdown with county rival Chapmanville Regional, the Man High School football team has four games left against Class A teams in which the Hillbillies will most likely be favored to win.
That’s why this week’s clash with the Tigers is so huge.
It probably will not be make or break for the Billies but it will be a huge game nonetheless.
Man (4-1), riding a four-game winning streak and coming off last week’s 30-25 victory at Fayetteville, is looking to beat another 2A team and grab more Double-A points in the WVSSAC’s playoff system.
The Billies, ranked No. 5 in the state last week in Class A, have done it three times already this season with wins over Mount View, Westside and River View.
Man, coached by Harvey Arms, is hoping to run the table and finish the season 9-1 and secure homefield advantage for the playoffs.
The next step to that goal is beating the Tigers.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Man’s George A. Queen Memorial Field.
Beating Chapmanville, however, won’t be easy.
The Tigers come into the game 4-2 and ranked No. 13 in the state in Double-A. Chapmanville was a 36-0 homecoming winner last week over James Monroe.
Chapmanville has been a major thorn in Man’s sides as the Tigers have beaten the Billies seven straight years.
Even in Man’s 12-2 Super Six season of 2009 the Billies were not able to beat Chapmanville as the Tigers came to Man and escaped with a 16-14 win. The only other loss by Man that season was a 27-7 setback to Weirton Madonna in the Class A state championship game at Wheeling Island Stadium.
Man hasn’t beaten Chapmanville since 2005 when the Billies won 28-14 over the Tigers at home. Man dominated the series from 2000-05 winning every time. But since 2006, Chapmanville has won every meeting.
Man has a chance to even up the county series 7-7 and to break the skid to the Tigers. The Billies lost 20-0 to Chapmanville last year and were pounded by the Tigers, 61-14 in 2011 in the last meeting between the two at Man. Chapmanville also won 8-0 in 2006, 40-12 in 2007, 21-3 in 2008 and 55-26 in 2010.
Man would like to settle the score on Friday night.
It’s shaping up to be a good game as both teams appear to be evenly matched.
“They are playing well and they have a good record,” Coach Arms said of the Tigers. “They have played a tough schedule and we’re looking for a tough game.”
Man played somewhat sluggishly last week in its win at Fayetteville as the Billies were held to 158 yards on 41 carries. Braden Griffin led the way with 16 carries for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Man was saved by a special teams score and a touchdown by the Billies’ defense.
At the 2:41 mark of the first quarter, Man’s Cayce Mullins returned the ball 86 yards for a touchdown. Mikle Scott Rowe ran in the two-point conversion as Man went ahead 8-7 after falling behind early on to the Pirates.
Man struck gold again on the defensive side of the ball with one second left in the period as Rowe intercepted a Fayetteville pass and raced 80 yards for a touchdown. John Thomas Keffer passed to Mullins on the conversion play as the Billies led 16-7 after one.
The Billies then stayed one step ahead of Fayetteville and put the win on ice in the second half.
Man sophomore quarterback John Thomas Keffer finished 8-for-12 passing for 96 yards and one TD. Tracy Jones had three catches for 52 yards and a score. Mullins had five grabs for 44 yards.
Neil Mullins led the Man defense with nine tackles. Jones had eight, Gage Harvey seven and Christian McCoy six.
The Billies will be facing a Chapmanville team which finally came out of the gate fast last week and ended up burying James Monroe.
The Tigers had started off slowly in their first five games and ended up ralling in the second half to beat Herbert Hoover, Scott and Poca. Chapmanville’s two losses this season were a Week 1 defeat at the hands of Sissonville (40-22) and a loss two weeks ago at home to 3A Logan (27-14).
Chapmanville led last week 22-0 after one, 30-0 at halftime and then coasted the rest of the way as Chapmanville coach George Barker emptied his bench in the fourth quarter, allowing his JV and freshman players a chance to get in on the homecoming victory.
The Tigers played without starting quarterback Alex Berry, who was sitting out due to a concussion sustained last week in the loss to Logan. Barker used a pair of quarterbacks in senior Jordan Toler and junior Nate Ramey.
Both played well.
Ramey fired a 50-yard touchdown pass to Brady Cox just before halftime. Toler passed to Zac Casto for a 76-yard TD in the second half — the only score for the Tigers in the final two quarters of the game. Toler was 4-for-6 passing for 110 yards while Ramey was 3-for-3 passing for 114 yards. The two were a combined 7-for-9 for 224 yards. Toler also added one carry for 13 yards.
Cox finished with five catches for 121 yards, a TD and a conversion catch. Casto had two grabs for 103 yards — an average of 51.5 yards a catch.
Junior feature tailback Devin Wiley ran 17 carries for 81 yards and three scores.
Chapmanville outgained James Monroe 355-282 in total offense.
Arms said the Tigers have an explosive offense.
“We have to play aggressively,” Arms said. “We can’t allow them to get the big play on us.”
Man has a chance to beat one more Double-A team as the Tigers are the last 2A squad on the Billies’ schedule.
“All of the games we feel like are important to us. This is a big game with two county teams,” Arms said. “We have played for years. No matter what the situation is we always look at this one as a big game.”
Keffer has completed 54.7 percent of his passes on the season as he has connected on 47-for-86 of his throws for 620 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions.
Griffin leads Man’s balanced rushing attack with 61 carries for 333 yards (5.5 ypc) and five touchdowns.
Rowe has 46 rushes for 158 yards and one TD, while Neil Mullins has 25 attempts for 113 yards and a score.
Jones is Man’s leading receiver with 18 catches for 331 yards (18.4 ypc) and three touchdowns. Cayce Mullins has 23 grabs for 235 yards and three TDs.
Arms said Man’s passing game has been pretty good up until this point.
“We’re trying to take advantage of the talent that we have,” Arms said. “We think that those guys have done a real good job and have the ability to throw and catch. We’re trying to make the most of it.”
Rowe is averaging nearly 30 yards a punt.
On defense, McCoy leads the Billies with 31 total tackles and 2.5 sacks. Noah Maynard has 26 tackles and a sack, while Harvey and Jones each have 25 stops. Beavers has 22 total tackles.
After taking on Chapmanville, Man’s remaining four opponents are a combined 8-15. Those teams are: Sherman (2-4), Pocahontas County (2-4), Tug Valley (2-4) and Van (2-3).
Sherman lost 22-14 at Independence last week, while Pocahontas County lost 7-0 at Bath County (Va.). Tug Valley fell 40-28 at home last Friday to East Ridge (Ky.). The Van Bulldogs won 39-35 at 1-5 Richwood last week.
— Chapmanville coach George Barker will comment on the game in Thursday’s sports. Look for a preview of the Logan-University game in Wednesday’s sports section.
Man-Chapmanville Football Series
Since 2000 (Chapmanville leads 7-6):
2012: Chapmanville 20, Man 0
2011: Chapmanville 61, Man 14
2010: Chapmanville 55, Man 26
2009: Chapmanville 16, Man 14
2008: Chapmanville 21, Man 3
2007: Chapmanville 40, Man 12
2006: Chapmanville 8, Man 0
2005: Man 28, Chapmanville 14
2004: Man 48, Chapmanville 20
2003: Man 20, Chapmanville 12
2002: Man 12, Man 8
2001: Man 13, Chapmanville 12
2000: Man 38, Chapmanville 19