MAN — The Man High School football team has an unexpected bye week this week but that’s OK with Man coach Harvey Arms and the Hillbillies.
Man, 6-0 after blanking Lincoln County, 44-0 in last week’s homecoming game, was scheduled to play at Tug Valley (3-3) this Friday night.
However, that game has been moved to Week 10 on Nov. 1 by mutual agreement. The Panthers lost 80-48 last week to Pike Central, Kentucky.
That gives the Hillbillies an open date this Friday.
Next up for Man is an Oct. 18 home game against Wyoming East. The Billies lead the all-time series 7-5 and have won the last three meetings including last year’s 24-21 victory at on road at New Richmond. Man and East played each other every year from 1999-2009 but did not play each other from 2010-17.
“The Tug Valley game has been moved back to Week 10 to where it was originally,” Arms said. “We just changed it on Saturday. They had some guys banged up last Friday night and their numbers are low and we have some banged up too so it was better for both of us to change it back. So we are off this week and play Wyoming East the following week.”
Arms says the bye week comes at a good time.
“I think so,” he said. “The way that Friday night turned out we got three kids who were banged up a little bit, I don’t think anything serious, but to have the extra week for them to heal up and get ready to play will be a benefit to us I think.”
Man hopes to go 7-0 with a win over Wyoming East in two weeks.
Then that would put Man into a showdown game on Oct. 25 at Point Pleasant in a matchup that will televised live on WCHS-TV as part of the affiliate’s Friday Night Rival Series.
The rescheduled Tug Valley game follows before Man closes out the regular season on Nov. 8 at county rival Chapmanville.
Man hopes to lock up not only a Class AA playoff berth put also a first round home game.
The Billies are searching for their first postseason berth since 2015.
The top 16 teams in each class qualify for the playoffs with the top eight having first round home games.
“We’re looking forward and we hope that things continue to go right,” Arms said. “We’re hoping to get that home playoff game and get into the playoffs and do well. That’s the goal for everybody. We’ve talked all year long about getting better each week and each game and I think so far that we have. We just have to keep focused and keep playing the way that we have. So far things are working out really well.”
Man is off to its best start since 2009, the Billies’ Class A state championship game season. That year Man started 5-0 before taking a 16-14 loss at home to Chapmanville. Man then reeled off six straight wins before falling 27-7 to Weirton Madonna in the Class A state finals at Wheeling Island Stadium.
Man’s defense was able to pitch a shutout in last week’s victory over Lincoln County. The Billies allowed just 44 total yards.
Man has yielded just 46 points all season, also shutting out Westside, 40-0, on Sept. 13.
Erick Grimmett, Plumley, Sam Milton, Zack Frye, Brock Muncy, Colton Frye, Quentin Moody, Josh Moody, Cameron Frye and Jeremiah Harless are the statistical leaders on defense.
“Our defense has really played outstanding,” Arms said. “Our defensive coaches have done a good job with them and they have been prepared in every game.”
The Billies have been able to achieve a more balanced offense this season.
Man’s rushing attack has also been balanced.
Freshman Josh Moody leads the way with 31 rushes for 415 yards and seven touchdowns. Cameron Frye has 269 yards on the ground on 30 carries and a pair of scores. Zack Frye has 35 totes for 231 yards and five TDs. Plumley has another 191 yards on 26 carries and five scores. Caleb Milton has another 126 yards and four TDs and Dylan Morris has 105 yards and one touchdown.
“We’ve had a lot of guys that have been able to run the ball,” Arms said. “When you put them all together we’ve had some good rushing yardage. We haven’t had any real big rushing yardage for any one guy but we’ve been running backs by committee.”
Milton has also had a fine season as Man’s quarterback. He’s completed 33 of 61 passes for 764 yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions.
Quentin Moody has 10 catches for 308 yards and four touchdowns on the season. Sam Milton also has reeled in 10 passes for 272 yards and two scores. Cameron Frye has seven grabs for 107 yards and one touchdown.
“We’ve been able to throw the ball better,” Arms said. “Our quarterback has played well and our receivers have really played well.”