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MAN — It’s been decades since the Man High School football team played Independence.

Ronald Reagan was still president, the USSR was still a country and the Iron Curtain began to crumble with the failure of the communist system.

In the Super Bowl that year, the Washington Redskins, led by QB Doug Williams, torched John Elway and the Denver Broncos, 42-10 at San Diego, scoring 42 points after a 10-0 first quarter deficit.

In college football that year on New Year’s Day, the Miami Hurricanes defeated Oklahoma on their home field at the Orange Bowl to win the national championship.

The year was 1988.

And that’s the last time the Man Hillbillies have met up with the Independence Patriots on the gridiron.

The two teams are scheduled to meet again for the first time in 33 years on Friday night as Man (3-3) travels to play at Class AA No. 3-ranked Independence at the Independence High School football field in Coal City.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

It will be a tough challenge for Man, which is fighting to stay in the Class A playoff picture.

The Patriots enter the game undefeated with a 5-0 mark after last week’s 60-21 thrashing over Midland Trail.

Man coach Harvey Arms said Independence has a solid team.

“They are a strong team,” Arms said. “They have some good running backs, a good quarterback and a couple of good receivers. They are very talented.”

Man is coming off last week’s bye week. The Billies last played on Tuesday, Oct. 5 at Mount View in a 45-21 makeup game loss.

“It wasn’t really much of an off week because we played on Tuesday,” Arms said. “It wasn’t like a normal off week. We took some of the week off.”

Man leads 6-1 in the all-time series which spanned 1976-88 in the Tootie Carter era.

The two teams met three times from 1986-88 with the Patriots beating Man 12-0 in ‘86 for their only victory in the series.

Man routed Independence 38-6 in 1988 in the last meeting.

The Patriots, coached by John Lilly, played last week’s game without star running back Atticus Goodson, who was attending am out-of-state baseball function, and nine other players due to injuries or quarantine issues.

Independence was led by QB Logan Phalin last week. He completed 9 of 20 passes for 271 yards and four TD passes. He also scored two touchdowns, one of which went for 52 yards.

Phalin also had a 62-yard scoring strike to Cyrus Goodson.

Running back Judah Price also had a big night, rolling up 245 yards rushing on 16 carries and three scores. One of his touchdowns was on a 74-yard run.

“We’ve gotta get ready for a tough Man team coming in. We’ve got our work cut out for us. We’ll get Atticus back next week, and hopefully we can keep getting better,” Lilly told the Beckley Register-Herald. “We knew since June he wasn’t going to be here. I guess since we knew we didn’t make it a big deal. We love him, he’s a great kid. We’re not going to go real deep in the playoffs without him. We (experienced) a little bit of adversity in the first quarter, and we hung in there.”

Atticus Goodson averages 211 yards rushing per game.

Man is led by QB Israel Canterbury, who has completed 46 of 99 passes for 638 yards with seven touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Justin Grimett has rushed 41 times for 310 yards and two scores.

Jayden Brumfield has 43 carries for 216 yards and a score. Jordan Adams has another 183 yards on 43 carries and a TD.

Jeremiah Harless has reeled in 22 passes for 321 yards and five touchdowns. Jacob Walls has eight grabs for 189 yards and a TD. Grimmett has nine catches for 125 yards and two scores.

Harless leads the Man defense with 23 solo tackles and 16 assists on the season. He also has a pair of picks.

Grimmett has 19 solos, 14 assists, two picks and two sacks.

Lukas Haney has 15 solos and 15 assists. Xander Mullins has 14 solos and 15 assists.

Brumfield has 15 solos and nine assists. Walls checks in with 12 solos, seven assists and two picks.

Arms said Man is in good shape in the injury department.

“We didn’t get anybody hurt in the last game,” he said.

A few weeks ago, Man did lose freshman running back Dusten Baisden.

“He probably won’t be back this season. He had a leg injury above his ankle,” Arms said.

Man vs. Independence

All-Time Football Series (Man leads 6-1):

1988: Man 38, Independence 6

1987: Man 21, Independence 7

1986: Independence 12, Man 0

1979: Man 27, Independence 0

1978: Man 36, Independence 0

1977: Man 34, Independence 12

1976: Man 26, Independence 0

Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. Follow him on Twitter at @PAdkinsBanner or email him at padkins@hdmediallc.com

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