MAN – It’s still early in the 2013 high school football season.
However, the Man High School football team must feel pretty good about what it has done so far.
The Hillbillies knew the season schedule was a bit top-heavy but Man is in a good position following last week’s 22-14 victory on the road at Class AA Westside.
The victory moved Man to 2-1 on the season heading into this Friday night’s home showdown and Hall of Fame Game with another Double-A team, the River View Raiders.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Man’s George A. Queen Memorial Field.
After a 40-20 loss to Class AAA county rival Logan in the opener, Single-A Man won 44-0 at Mount View in Week 2.
Last Friday night’s victory over the Renegades gives Man a second straight victory over a 2A team.
Man will look for a third this week against River View.
The Billies have shown much improvement already over last year when the young Man team went just 2-8.
Man has already matched last year’s win total and are looking forward to a strong finish in the middle and late portions of the prep season.
It’s setting up quite nicely for the Billies, which have an open date on Sept. 27 before closing out the season with Class A Fayetteville, Double-A county rival Chapmanville and four more Single-A opponents in Sherman, Pocahontas County, Tug Valley and Van.
With perceived beatable teams on the schedule the rest of the season, Man could be knocking on the door for the Class A playoffs.
Man coach Harvey Arms, however, does not want to look ahead and play the “what if” scenarios. His Hillbillies have another huge game on Friday night against the Raiders, a team which was idle last week and sports a 2-0 record after wins over Mount View (28-0) and Buffalo (54-16). River View is coached by first-year mentor Gehrig Justice, a Gilbert native.
“In the past few years we’ve had some tough games against River View and we expect the same this year,” Arms said. “We want to keep competing and playing well. If you can compete and play well against bigger competition we will be better off.”
After giving up 14 first quarter points to the Renegades, Man’s defense held the home team scoreless through the final three periods of play as the Billies won back-to-back road games for the first time in four years.
Braden Griffin returned to the Man backfield after banging up his shoulder in the season opening Logan game and sitting out last week at Mount View. He ended up having a huge game as he rushed for 135 yards on 18 carries and scored two touchdowns.
Man sophomore quarterback John Thomas Keffer was 12-for-21 passing for 120 yards and a touchdown.
“We had a full team last week and nobody was injured,” Arms said. “We thought our kids played really well in all phases of the game. Our defense played especially well and I thought we made some big plays on offfense.”
River View was led in the Buffalo game by junior Jordan Wilson, who rushed for 152 yards on just 11 carries and scored three touchdowns. Ryan Blankenship also ran in for a pair of touchdowns for the Raiders.
River View was aided in the Buffalo game by eight Bison turnovers.
River View and Man have met three times and the Raiders have won all three meetings, including last year’s 22-13 decision at Man. River View, located at Bradshaw, was formed with the consolidation of former McDowell County high schools Big Creek and Iaeger.
The Raiders have had a winning sesaon in each of their three years of existence and have advanced to the Class AA playoffs each time. Last year, River View was 6-5. In 2011, the Raiders were 9-3. During RV’s inaugural season in 2010, the Raiders were 9-2-1, including a 16-16 tie game to Westside.
“River View has a good team,” Arms said. “He (Wilson) is quick and shifty. He’s probably one of the better backs that we’ll face. We’ve seen him for two years now. We know that he’s tough to contain because he’s a speed back. They do have a good offense. They are in a different system now. They have a new coach and they used to be Wing-T and now they spread the field more and use the whole field. From what we’ve seen they look pretty good.”
This year’s Man High School Athletic Hall of Fame inductees include: Richard Daniels (Class of 1957); Gretchen Adkins Donahue (Class of 1962); Tim McCoy (Class of 1974); Kenneth Ray Ramsey Sr. (Class of 1975); Alex Terry (Class of 1982); John Keffer (Class of 1988); Joey Robinson (Class of 1994); and Chris Harvey (Class of 1999).
This year’s hall of fame class will be honored on Thursday with a golf outing and banquet. The golf outing is set to begin at 11 a.m. and will take place at the Triadelphia Country Club in Man. Registration is 10 a.m.
Then on Thursday night there will be a “meet and greet” at 6 p.m. at the Man Memorial Fieldhouse. The hall of fame dinner will then follow at 7 p.m.
The hall of fame inductees will also be honored before Friday night’s Man football home game.
Keffer is the father of current quarterback John Thomas Keffer. He was also a standout basketball player.
Harvey played with the University of Miami football team and was the team’s starting deep snapper for four years, including the Canes’ 2001 National Championship season. Harvey played football at Man Junior High School for Arms and is a former assistant coach.
“I coached a lot of these players at the junior high level,” Arms said. “We feel like we have a good hall of fame class this year. There are some that go back to the 1950s.”
Man-River View Football
All-Time Series (River View leads 3-0):
2012: River View 22, Man 13
2011: River View 28, Man 26
2010: River View 33, Man 21