By: Jerry Fekete Banner Correspondent
October 20, 2013
SETH — The Class A No. 4-ranked Man High School football team would like to run the table.
The Hillbillies hope to end the regular season on a nine-game winning streak and close with a 9-1 record before reaching the playoffs.
Man took another step toward that goal with Friday night’s 36-6 win on Friday night at Sherman.
The Billies improved to 6-1 on the season, while the Tide dropped to 2-6.
The game was the tale of two halves.
The Billies were very sluggish in the first half of play but turned it up in the final two quarters after a slim 8-6 lead at halftime.
Man then kicked it into gear, outscoring Sherman 28-0 in the second half to turn it into a rout. The Billies’ defense held the Tide to minus-38 yards of total offense in the second half and Man didn’t have to punt.
The man for Man on Friday night was 264-pound running back Neil Mullins, who led the Billies on both sides of the ball. Mullins was an unstoppable force running with the ball as he finished with 101 yards rushing on 16 carries and two touchdowns while leading the Goats on defense with six tackles and two QB sacks.
Mullins helped pick up the slack in the Billies’ backfield. Feature back Braden Griffin sat out with an injured shoulder which was sustained in last week’s 26-22 victory at home over Chapmanville.
Man coach Harvey Arms said he’s glad his team came alive when the game was on the line.
“We didn’t play well in the first half but our defense played well most of the game,” Arms said. “They gave up a pass there early for their first score but we didn’t give up much yardage. Neil ran the ball well and led our defense. Tracy Jones played well too and got that big punt return there in the third quarter that led to the first of three scores in the third quarter for us. I didn’t think we punted in the second half. Robert Caudill and Jeremiah Beavers also played well and they didn’t want any of Neil there in the second half.”
Sherman took an early 6-0 lead to start the second half after a scoreless first period of play as Braden Harrah caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from QB Bradley Kirk with 9:30 to play in the second quarter. The PAT kick was no good.
The Hillbilllies then took the lead for good with just two minutes remaining in the first half as QB John Thomas Keffer hooked up with his cousin Cayce Mullins on a 15-yard TD pass. Keffer then passed to Gage Harvey for the two-point conversion to give Man an 8-6 lead heading into the locker room at the break.
Man’s defense then came out strong and forced Sherman to punt the ball away with a three-and-out. Tracy Jones gave the Billies a boost with a long gainer on the punt return all the way to the Tide 33-yard line.
Mullins then bulldozed his way to the 19-yard line for a 14-yard gain. Two plays later, Mullins rushed in from 9 yards out to make it 14-6 with 8:26 to play in the third quarter. The two-point conversion pass failed.
The Tide got the ball back on their own 42 but the Billies forced another punt situation and a bad snap over the punter’s head gave Man a golden opportunity at the Tide 5.
Two plays later, Keffer found Jones on a 6-yard TD pass. Rowe tacked on the two-point conversion run as Man led 22-6 with 4:30 showing on the clock.
The Billies’ defense once again held the Tide in check, forcing another punt as Sherman did its best Rockettes’ routine: one, two, three, kick … one, two, three, kick.
Man took over on its own 25 and just four plays later, Cayce Mullins fired a halfback pass deep which was tipped by a Tide player and into the waiting hands of Jones for a 53-yard touchdown play to paydirt. Keffer then found Mullins in the end zone on the conversion play and Man held a commanding 30-6 advantage with 59 ticks to go on the third quarter clock.
Man tacked on one more score — a going away present for the Tide — as Neil Mullins ran in from 9 yards out with 7:05 remaining in the game. The two-point conversion failed but the Billies were on top 36-6.
Coach Arms then used his reserve players the rest of the way.
Rowe had 47 yards rushing on eight carries for Man. Freshman Jake Frye had 35 yards rushing in six attempts, while Keffer had four runs for 25 yards.
Keffer was 13-for-19 passing for 98 yards with two TDs and two interceptions.
Jones had four catches for 67 yards and two scores. Cayce Mullins had seven catches for 66 yards and one touchdown. He was 1-for-1 passing with the scoring strike to Jones.
On defense, Man was led by Neil Mullins with six tackles and two sacks. Christian McCoy had five tackles and one sack. Robert Caudill had five tackles, while Harvey, Noah Maynard, Tanner Bailey, Cayce Mullins and Jones all had four each.
Tyler Grimmett had three tackles and a pick. Jeremiah Beavers had two tackles and a sack, while Thomas Holt and Rowe had two stops each.
Man is scheduled to get back into action this Friday night at home against Pocahontas County (3-5). Pocahontas beat Tygarts Valley 48-14 on the road on Friday. Man and Pocahontas met in a preseason scrimmage at Midland Trail.
— Logan Banner Sports Editor Paul Adkins contributed to this report.
2013 Man High School
Football Schedule (6-1):
Aug. 30: Logan, L 20-40
Sept. 6: at Mount View, W 44-0
Sept. 13: at Westside, W 22-14
Sept. 20: River View (Hall of Fame Game), W 46-8
Sept. 27: OPEN DATE
Oct. 4: at Fayetteville, W 30-25
Oct. 11: Chapmanville (Homecoming), W 26-22
Oct. 18: at Sherman, W 36-6
Oct. 25: Pocahontas County, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 1: at Tug Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 8: Van, 7:30 p.m.