The Man High School football team put itself into Class A playoff contention in a remarkably short amount of time with Friday night’s thrilling 32-26 win in overtime over Class AAA county rival Logan on Friday night at Logan Stadium in the season opener for both schools.
Man not only snapped a four-game losing skid to the Wildcats, it also grabbed 12 points in the WVSSAC playoff system — or the equivalent of two wins over Class A teams — with the victory over the Triple-A Wildcats.
The Hillbillies (1-0) won the game in OT with Mikle Scott-Rowe’s 9-yard touchdown run which broke a 26-all tie.
Man had jumped out to a seemingly insurmountable 26-14 lead with 6:34 left in the game as QB John Thomas Keffer scored on a 1-yard touchdown sneak.
But on the ensuing kickoff, Logan’s Matt Cox got the Wildcats (0-1) back into the game with an electrifying 70-yard return for a touchdown to make it 26-20 with 6:23 to go.
Man was pinned deep on its next drive and had to punt out of its own end zone. After a short 27-yard punt, Logan took over on the Billies’ 35-yard line.
Eight plays later, Logan quarterback Ryan Miller scored on a 7-yard run on a fourth-and-goal play to tie the game 26-26 with 33.3 ticks to go.
Logan had a chance to potentially win the game on the extra point kick but Jacob Browning’s boot sailed wide left.
Man took over on its own 34 and after two plays regulation time ran out and the game went to overtime.
The Billies won the coin flip and opted to go on defense first in OT.
Man’s defense rose to the challenge by stopping Logan on its overtime drive from the Man 20-yard line.
The Billies then won it on the sixth play of their drive with the Rowe touchdown run.
Logan went up 7-0 early in the first quarter on a gadget play as Miller hit Zac Acord on a pass and Acord then pitched to Cox for a 34-yard hook-and-lateral touchdown.
Man then went to its ground game and bruising running back Neil Mullins, the Lions Club Bowl Most Valuable Player. Rowe cut the Logan lead to 7-6 with a 1-yard TD run with 4:41 left in the opening quarter. The two-point conversion failed.
The Hillbillies took the lead, 14-7, with 9:22 left until halftime as Keffer scored on a 1-yard QB plunge and then leaped into the end zone on a the two-point conversion play.
Logan was pinned deep on its next drive and Man made them pay as Miller, who took heavy pressure from Jake Adkins in the end zone, tried to shovel pass the ball out. It was a huge turn of events and a big mistake for Logan as Miller was picked off by Nick Collins at the 2-yard line and then went into the end zone for a TD to make it 20-7 Man with 8:56 to go until the half.
Logan trimmed the deficit to 20-14 at the 11-minute mark of the third quarter as Miller fired a 14-yard TD pass to Cox, who had three scores on the night.
Man later got the ball back after a Logan fumble on its own 20-yard line. Keffer then scored from 1 yard out on the very next play. The touchdown was set up by a bulldozing 19-yard run to the 1 by Mullins.
For the Billies it was their first win over the Cats since 2009. That was the year Man reached the Wheeling Super Six and finished with a 12-2 record.
Man is coming off last year’s 9-2 home playoff season and are poised to put together another successful year on the gridiron.
Both teams are set to get back into action next week at home as both the Wildcats and Hillbillies will be hosting Hall of Fame games.
Logan hosts Shady Spring (0-1) while Man is set to host Mount View (0-1).
— Man coach Harvey Arms and Logan coach Gary Mullins will comment on the game in Sunday’s print edition and on line at: www.loganbanner.com