The Man High School football team has found an opponent to fill its 10th game this season.
The Hillbillies have added Calhoun County and the two teams are set to meet on October 9 at 7 p.m. at Calhoun County.
The opening was made available as the Red Devils’ game with Parkersburg Catholic was canceled. Parkersburg Catholic announced recently that it would not be fielding a football team this fall due to low numbers.
It will be the first ever meeting between the two schools in football.
When the WVSSAC canceled Week 1 of the season, games set to be played on August 27-28, Man’s traditional season opening game with Logan was wiped out.
The Billies and the Wildcats did not share the same bye week as Logan’s open date is October 16. The Wildcats went ahead and scheduled Class A Tug Valley to fill their open spot.
Calhoun County, a Class A school and located at Mount Zion, W.Va., went 2-8 last season.
The Red Devils, coached by Mike Arthur, beat Wirt County, 8-6, in last year’s season opener, then went 1-8 the rest of the way. Calhoun County beat Gilmer County, 28-14, later in the season.
Calhoun County has endured four straight losing seasons, going 2-8 in 2016, 0-10 in 2017, and 1-8 in 2018.
Since 2009, the Red Devils have enjoyed just two winning campaigns, sporting a 6-4 mark in 2009 and a 6-5 record in 2015.
Man is coming off last year’s 8-3 season in which the Billies advanced to the Class AA playoffs and ended up falling 48-16 in a first round game at Bluefield. It was Man’s last season as a Double-A school.
Man did very well as a Class A team in the 2000s and into the early to mid-2010s.
The high water mark was in the 2009 season when Man went 12-2, winning three home playoff games and eventually going to the Wheeling Super Six where the Billies lost 27-7 to Weirton Madonna in the Class A state championship game.
Man made five playoffs appearances as a Class A school in 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014 and 2015, going 5-7.
The Billies advanced past the first round in 2005 and 2008 and also the 2009 state championship game season.
The last four years, Man was bumped back up to Class AA ball.
It was a good 2019 season for Man as the Billies beat county rivals Logan (62-8) and Chapmanville (33-8) to win the Logan County championship. Man started off the season with a perfect 7-0 record, climbing to as high as No. 5 in the state rankings.
Man then lost 7-0 at Point Pleasant, then fell 20-12 at Class A Tug Valley before the season ending win at Chapmanville.
Man’s 2020 football schedule is very difficult and the Hillbillies will be playing one of the most challenging slates for a Class A school in the entire state.
Class AA teams Mingo Central and Independence have been added to the schedule this season. Man also picked up Class A Buffalo and three-time reigning Class A champion Wheeling Central.
“As always for us, we have to play teams that will play us,” Man coach Harvey Arms said. “It’s going to be a tough schedule. We’re dropping down to Single-A but we are still going to have six Double-A teams on our schedule. We are used to playing a tough schedule. We just have to keep working so we can compete.”
The five new additions to the schedule replace Class AAA Greenbrier East and 2A teams River View, Lincoln County and Wyoming East.
“It’s a good schedule for points if we can win ballgames,” he said. “If you can win that will give you a good boost for the playoffs because it is a good schedule for point opportunities.”
Man will also have an advantage this fall.
Six of its 10 games will be at home.
Man is scheduled to play four out of its first six games away from home. The season opener against Mount View is set to be played on Sept. 4.