MAN - It won't get any easier for the Man High School football team this fall.
The Hillbillies, regardless of classification, always plays a rigorous schedule. This year is no exception as Man has added Class AAA Greenbrier East to its upcoming 2019 schedule.
The Spartans replace Class AA powerhouse Keyser, a team Man has played the two seasons, falling 50-8 last year on the road and 32-0 in 2017.
Man is set to travel to Lewisburg on September 20 to face the Spartans in Week 4. It will be the first meeting between the two schools since 1983 when the Billies lost 27-7 at Greenbrier East.
The Billies are 2-1 all-time against Greenbrier East, winning 13-7 on the road in 1968 and also taking a 34-0 victory at home in 1982 in the Tootie Carter era.
It's the only major change to the schedule for Man, which went 6-4 last season and missed out on reaching the Class AA state playoffs.
"We are going there in the fourth week of the season," Man coach Harvey Arms said of Greenbrier East. "We just have to schedule who we can get. We've had trouble finding that 10th game and luckily we were able to make a deal with them."
The Billies' schedule is also difficult in that Man plays six away games and only four at home at the friendly confines of George A. Queen Memorial Field.
Man is slated to open the 2019 season at home against county rival Logan on August 30, then hit the road for three straight away games at Mount View on September 6, at Westside on September 13 and then to Greenbrier East.
The Billies host River View on September 27, host Lincoln County on October 4, go to Tug Valley on October 11, host Wyoming East on October 18 and then travel to Class AA power Point Pleasant on October 25.
Man's open date is November 1 and the Billies then close out the regular season on November 8 at county rival Chapmanville.
Man's bye week was in Week 4 last season. Some other games have been switched around to different weeks.
The Billies started off last season 0-2 with losses to Logan (20-14) and Mount View (28-12), then bounced back to notch four wins in its next five outings, beating Westside (36-6), River View (20-14), Lincoln County (12-6 in OT) and Wyoming East (24-21) and losing to Keyser.
Man then won three out of its last four games, downing Wyoming East (24-21), falling to Point Pleasant (49-0), then knocking off Tug Valley (30-8) and Chapmanville (18-14).
After the 0-2 start, the Billies were 6-2 in their last eight games and hope to carry that momentum over to the new grid campaign.
The Spartans, coached by Ray Lee, were 6-5 last season, losing 43-15 at Ripley in the first round of AAA playoffs. It was the second defeat to the Vikings during the season.
Greenbrier East scored wins last season over James Monroe (14-0), St. Albans (41-7), Buckhannon-Upshur (32-6), Alleghany, Virginia (14-0), Princeton (53-14) and Riverside (44-24). The Spartans also lost to Beckley Woodrow Wilson (34-2), Bluefield (62-7), Ripley (28-26) and Parkersburg South (48-14).
Last year was the first winning season for the Spartans since 2015 when it went 7-4, also falling in the opening round of the Triple-A playoffs. Greenbrier East was 2-8 in 2017 and 4-6 in 2016. Greenbrier East was 5-5 in 2014, 5-4 in 2013 and 3-6-1 in 2012.
From 2004-10, the Spartans suffered through seven straight losing campaigns.
Man is set to begin its three-week June summer practice period on June 10.
The Billies are slated to take part in a 7-on-7 scrimmage on June 17 at Chapmanville.
Several veteran players are back this season for Man, including many at the skilled positions. One of those returnees is quarterback Caleb Milton, a rising senior.
Milton's twin brother Sam Milton, one of the Billies' top receivers is also back, along with senior linebacker/running back Brock Muncy, a Class AA Special Honorable Mention All-State selection from a year ago. Sam Milton was named Honorable Mention All-State last year.
Erick Grimmett, a rising junior, is also back. He was named Honorable Mention last year, as well as Daniel Browning.
Quentin Moody, a rising senior and a top Man running back/wide receiver, also returns as well as running backs Cameron Frye (junior), Zack Frye (senior), Nick Plumley (junior) and Dylan Morris (senior).
"A lot of of skilled position players are returning," Arms said.
That bodes well for a team like Man, which is hoping to make a playoff push this season.
Man's last post-season run was 2013-15 when the Billies were a Class A team. Man has been back in Double-A the last three seasons.
Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. Follow him on Twitter at @PAdkinsBanner or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
2019 Man High School
Aug. 30: Logan, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 6: at Mount View, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 13: at Westside, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 20: at Greenbrier East, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 27: River View, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4: Lincoln County, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 11: at Tug Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 18: Wyoming East, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 25: at Point Pleasant, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 1: OPEN DATE
Nov. 8: at Chapmanville, 7:30 p.m.