Billies sail past Pirates in homecoming romp
by Jerry Fekete
MAN — It was a happy homecoming for the Man High School football team which snapped a three-game losing skid and thumped Fayetteville 48-13 on Friday night at Man’s George A. Queen Memorial Stadium.
Man improved to 2-4 win the win. The Pirates stayed winless at 0-6.
“The defense was the key and we won the battle in the trenches on both offense and defense,” Hillbillies’ coach Harvey Arms said.
Man’s defense held Fayetteville to just 58 yards of total offense for the game and only four first downs, while pitching a shutout. Both of Fayetteville’s touchdowns came on fumble returns.
The Billies’ offense, however, was able to kick it in gear with 472 yards of total offense, including 448 on the ground, led by Braden Griffin and Tracy Jones, who each went over the 100-yard mark and scored two touchdowns. Noah Maynard just missed the century mark with 95 yards rushing and one score.
Man scored 21 unanswered points in the first period of play and never looked back.
The Billies scored on their first possession as they got good field position on the Fayetteville 30-yard stripe. Two plays later Griffin rushed in from 27 yards out. Justin Cantrell ran in the two-point conversion to give MHS an 8-0 lead at the 8:56 mark.
It was 14-0 after a 7-yard TD run by Griffin with 5:55 to go in the opening quarter.
The Billies’ defense then held the Pirates on downs at the Man 48. Eight plays later, Neil Mullins bulled in from 1-yard out. Cantrell’s PAT was good as Man led 21-0.
Man then pushed their lead to 28-0 midway in the second stanza on an 18-yard jaunt by Jones at the 8:46 mark. Cantrell’s kick again split the uprights.
Then it was two costly Man mistakes just before the half that resulted in two Pirate scores within 12 seconds of each other.
The first was when Griffin fumbled and Fayetteville’s Jacob Alton scooped up the ball and raced 68 yards for a touchdown to make it 28-6 with 2:30 left. Then on the ensuing kickoff Jones got stripped and River Pullens raced in for a TD. The PAT was good as the Pirates trimmed the Man lead to 28-13 with 2:18 to play.
That’s the way the game stayed as Man held a 15-point lead at the half. During the halftime homecoming festivities, Man standout softball pitcher Taylor Tomblin was crowned as Miss Man High School 2012.
Man then sailed away from the Pirates in the second half, led by its dominant offensive line of Marcus Murrell, Chris Clark, Cody Gibson, Richie Nelson and Joey Buchannan.
The Billies pushed their lead to 34-13 in the third quarter as Man marched 64 yards, capitalizing on Mullins’ 5-yard TD run at the 6:51 mark.
Man then put the game on ice with only nine seconds left in the third with a 67-yard touchdown run by Jones to make it 42-13. The Billies scored on the two-point conversion with quarterback John Thomas Keffer’s pass to Dakota Toth.
Man got its final points with 5:37 to play on a 1-yard plunge by Maynard.
The Billies were led on defense by Joe Caudill, Toth and Murrell, who combined for five sacks.
Griffin finished with 111 yards rushing on 18 carries and two scores. Jones had four rushes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Mullins had 12 totes for 55 yards and two scores. Keffer was 2-for-9 in the air for 24 yards but had six of his passes dropped — two of which would have went for touchdowns.
Man returns to action next Friday night at county rival Chapmanville.
The Billies and the Tigers are an even 6-6 against each other in the 12 meetings since 2000. Chapmanville, however, has won the last six after Man beat the Tigers in the first six meetings.
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