FAIRLEA — Man’s defense has been stout all year.
And in Friday’s big 22-17 win at Class AAA Greenbrier East it was a defensive play with helped the Man High School football team get past the Spartans.
Up 14-7 late in the third quarter and with the game still in the balance, Man’s Quentin Moody intercepted a Greenbrier East pass and took it to the house for a 30-yard touchdown. Cameron Frye ran in the two-point conversion and the Hillbillies led 22-7 with 57 seconds left in the quarter.
Man then was able to hold off the Spartans in the fourth quarter to seal the win and to improve to 4-0 on the season.
Greenbrier East was able to score 10 points in the fourth quarter — a safety and a touchdown and two-point conversion but it wasn’t enough.
It was a huge win for Man, which entered the week tied for 8th in the state in the Class AA rankings.
The Billies grabbed Triple-A points and also bonus points and were expected to climb in this week’s rankings, which were scheduled to be released on Tuesday afternoon.
With six games left in the season, Man is a strong contender not only for a playoff berth but also home field advantage for the post-season. The top 16 teams in each class qualify for the playoffs with the top eight getting first-round home playoff games.
Man coach Harvey Arms was happy with the win.
“Our kids really accepted the challenge,” Arms said. “We played great and our coaches had them well prepared. We just stepped up and played well. It was close at the end but our kids hung in there and played great defense and we were able to come out with the victory.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Man took a 6-0 lead as Josh Moody ran in for a 15-yard touchdown with 7:29 to go until halftime. The conversion failed.
The Spartans then grabbed a 7-6 lead with 41 ticks to go until the intermission as Kyle King scored on a 5-yard touchdown run and Owen Vogelsong booted the extra point.
Man then regained the lead at the 4:02 mark of the third quarter as quarterback Caleb Milton tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Quentin Moody. Cameron Frye tacked on the two-point conversion run as the Billies led 14-7.
After the Moody pick-six it was 22-7 Man but the Billies had to hold off the Spartans in the fourth quarter.
With 2:50 left in the game Marion Lawson scored a two-point safety for the Spartans as he tackled a Man player in the end zone, putting Greenbrier East to within 22-9.
Soon after getting the ball back on the free kick, King tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Baker with 1:11 left in the game. King then passed to Baker on the two-point conversion play as the Spartans crept closer at 22-17.
Man got the ball back and was able to run out the clock to preserve the win.
Arms said the Moody interception and score was huge.
“It was because right after we were up just 14-7 but in the next series he intercepted the pass and we then got the two-point conversion to go up 22-7,” Arms said. “That was big.”
The game was a defensive struggle statistically as Man out-gained the Spartans 210-135 in yards of total offense.
The Billies had 35 rushes for 109 yards, while the Spartans were held to just 85 yards on 40 carries, an average of a paltry 2.1 yards per rush.
“It as a defensive battle and most of the game was on the ground,” Arms said. “We completed a few short passes and they didn’t complete too many. It was just a grounded out game. There weren’t many big plays that went for big yardage.”
Milton was 7 of 15 passing for 101 yards and a touchdown. King was 4 of 9 passing for 22 yards and a score. Monquelle Davis was 2 of 4 passing for 28 yards for Greenbrier East.
Frye led Man on the ground with seven rushes for 37 yards. Zack Frye had five rushes for 33 yards. Dylan Morris had nine totes for 26 yards. Freshman Josh Moody was held to 15 yards on six attempts.
King led the Spartans with 46 yards rushing on 18 carries. Marion Lawson had 40 yards on eight tries.
Quentin Moody had three catches for 59 yards and a score. Cameron Frye grabbed three passes for 33 yards. Morris had one catch for nine yards.
Baker reeled in five passes for 49 yards for East.
On defense, Zack Frye led Man with 10 solo tackles and three assists. Four of those tackles went for losses. Quentin Moody had eight solos and three assist and also the interception.
Erick Grimmett contributed seven tackles and four assists. Sam Milton had six solos and two assists, while Brock Muncy had five tackles and one assisted stop. Nick Plumley had three solos and two assists as did Colton Frye and Gavin Harvey. Jeremiah Harless had three solos and one assist.
Blake Griffin finished with two solos and two assists. Chris Isaacs and Cameron Frye each had two tackles and one assist. Morris and Evan Mullins each had a tackle and an assist. Josh Moody also had a tackle.
Man, however, was penalized 16 times for 139 yards. East had six flags for 55 yards.
Sam Milton punted four times for an average of 35 yards per kick for Man.
The Billies have now outscored their opponents a whopping 172-32 margin this season. Man has wins over Logan (62-8), Mount View (48-7) and Westside (40-0).
Friday’s game was the first time Man and Greenbrier East had played since 1983. Man leads 3-1 now in the all-time series.
Man hosts River View this Friday night in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Man’s George A. Queen Memorial Field. It will also be the annual Hall of Fame Game.