MAN — In the 18-year tenure of Man High School football coach Harvey Arms, the Hillbillies’ football team has prided itself with their stout defense.
The plan is simple.
With a midwestern-like worth ethic, the blue collar Billies look to stop opponents’ offenses, control the line of scrimmage, win in the trenches and shorted the game with a ball control running-centric offense.
In last year’s 8-3 playoff season. Man held its foes to two touchdowns or less in seven of those 11 games.
Man pitched shutout wins over Westside (40-0) and Lincoln County (44-0) and held four other opponents — Logan, Mount View, Point Pleasant and Chapmanville — to under 10 points.
The Hillbillies look to be tough again on defense as several of their starters return.
As of now, Man is scheduled to begin its abbreviated and COVID-19 delayed season on September 18 at Mingo Central.
Man’s opener with Logan had previously been canceled. Then Week 1 and Week 2 games against Mount View and Westside were wiped out due to Logan County’s recent red county status after a recent virus outbreak and the delay of practices.
Man hopes everything can get going soon and its defensive unit is ready to go.
Along the defensive line, many of Man’s O-linemen will flip over from the offensive side, which returns senior starters Kenny Greene, Evan Mullins and Josh Lambert. Seniors Colton Frye and Zander Mullins are other linemen who could be in the mix for the Billies.
“A lot of them will play both ways,” Coach Arms said. “We don’t have the kind of numbers where we can play two platoon. It would be great if we could. We will be playing most of our guys pretty much both ways.”
In Man’s run-heavy scheme it’s critical offensive linemen block and create holes.
“Whether you pass it or run it your offensive line has to be good,” Arms said. “You have to be able to protect your quarterback and create space.”
At linebacker, Erick Grimmett returns to his starting post. He led Man in tackles last season with 80 total stops, including an interception.
Cameron Frye is also back at linebacker. He had 27 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble, a sack and four pass breakups in 2019.
Nick Plumley, who played defensive end last season, is being moved back to the middle in the linebacker corps. He had 37 tackles, three sacks, a safety and two forced fumbles last fall.
Brock Muncy and Zack Frye, two top linebackers last season, have graduated.
“We’re looking for some new players for our linebacker spots and we might be moving some players around,” Arms said.
In the secondary, Jeremy Harless and both Moody brothers, Josh and Jayden, are expected to start. Harless recorded 33 tackles, a pass breakup, an interception and a fumble recovery last year. Josh Moody had 17 stops, three picks and a pass breakup.
“Again, we’d like to use some new players and hopefully they can contribute to our secondary and see what we can get done with them,” Arms said.
In the special teams, Jaxon Tipton is the likely kicker, while the punting job remains open.