At 3-5 heading into last week’s game with No. 4-ranked Buffalo, the Billies’ situation seemed to be hopeless.
But after a 28-14 win over the Bison and a 4-5 record, Man is still clinging to its Class A playoff hopes.
Man would have to beat Matewan this Friday night on the road, however, and also have some help if it wants to slip into the post-season as the No. 16 seed.
The Billies were ranked 21st in the state last week and were expected to climb a few spots in this week’s ratings which were scheduled to be released on Tuesday afternoon.
Matewan comes into the game at 7-2 after rolling over winless Mount View, 59-28, last week at home.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. this Friday night at Matewan High School’s Tiger Stadium.
It will be the last meeting on the gridiron for the two schools. Matewan is scheduled to consolidate with Williamson, Burch and Gilbert into the new Mingo Central High School next fall. The Miners’ first season of games in 2011 are expected to be played at Matewan until a facility can be built at the new school.
Man and Matewan have enjoyed a back-and-forth, non-continuous football rivalry.
The Billies stomped a depleted Matewan team last season, 56-6, en route to the Super Six in Wheeling.
This year has been much different for the Tigers. The only two losses to date were a 34-28 overtime loss at Prestonsburg, Ky., and a 36-22 defeat at home by new Class AA school Riverview.
Matewan also has wins over Wyoming East (47-21), Valley Fayette (46-14), Grove City Christian, Ohio (40-29), Westside (22-20), Burch (50-6) and Gilbert (33-6).
In last week’s win over Buffalo, Man was led by senior running back Derek Lomax, who rushed 17 times for 122 yards and scored on a 1-yard TD run.
Quarterback Shane Browning had eight carries for 69 yards and scored on touchdown runs of 2 and 30. Jeremy Tipton added 13 carries for 63 yards. Cody Owens had 13 rushes for 54 yards, including a 28-yard TD run.
Jimmy Duba added 11 carries for 30 yards. Ryan Crawford had one rush for 10 yards.
Browning was 0-for-3 passing for the game.
On defense, Owens led the way with seven tackles. Crawford and Zach Underwood had five each. Underwood also had a sack. Cody Frye had an interception.
Man outrushed Buffalo 338-91 for the game and outgained the Bison in total offense, 338-217.
Crawford had five punts for an average of 40.6 yards per kick. He had one punt downed inside the 20-yard line at the 2 which set up the Man safety when Kaleb Spurlock sacked Buffalo QB Levi Jordan in the end zone.
Matewan was led last week by Justin Bradford, who had 12 carries for 166 yards and five touchdowns. He scored on runs of 21, 2, 31 and 6 and also recovered a fumble and returned it 19 yards for another score.
The Tigers led the hapless Knights 42-14 at the half.
Joe May also rushed for 160 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 16 carries. May scored on runs of 12 and 34 for Matewan.
R.J. Collins rushed only once for a 47-yard touchdown.
Matewan quarterback Cody Centers completed 5-of-1o passes for 127 yards last week. Centers completed three passes to Corey Cook for 73 yards.
The Tigers also got a 35-yard field goal and eight PATs from kicker Nate Anderson.
On defense, Matewan was led by Joe Jackson, who had six tackles and a fumble recovery.