MAN — Four weeks into the season the Man High School football team couldn’t be in any better shape.
The Hillbillies are undefeated, ranked No. 1 in the state and will be again this week, and go into Friday night’s game at Fayetteville looking to go 5-0.
Man (4-0) won easily over downtrodden River View, 54-0, last week at home in a game that wasn’t even that close.
Fayetteville is 3-1 after getting upset at Meadow Bridge, 26-13, last week.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Fayetteville High School football field.
The Pirates represent the first Class A opponent for Single-A Man this season and it’s another “toss-up” game for the Billies.
Man has beaten its other two “toss-up” foes so far this season with wins over Class AAA Logan (18-13) and Westside (27-24).
It’s a huge game for the Billies, which are looking to run the table and advance to the Class A playoffs for the third straight season.
“Going into last Friday night’s game they were undefeated,” Man coach Harvey Arms said of the Pirates. “Meadow Bridge beat them in a close one but they’ve got a good season going. It will be another tough game for us.”
Fayetteville spotted Meadow Bridge a 14-0 lead last week before Pirates’ QB Jordan Dempsey connected with Dalton Dempsey on a 7-yard touchdown pass.
The Pirates later added a 1-yard TD run by Troy Farrell but fell short. Farrell was limited to just three net yards of offense on 15 carries for Fayetteville. The Pirates had only 14 net yards rushing on 21 attempts.
Jordan Dempsey finished the game 13-for-22 passing for 129 yards. Dalton Dempsey reeled in five passes for 62 yards. Alex Hewitt had three catches for 26 yards. Marcus Lively, David Gilliam and Farrell also had catches.
Man has had a pretty competitive series with the Pirates in the past as the Billies own a 10-6 edge since 2000.
The Billies have won the last three meetings — 28-0 last year, 30-25 in 2013 and 48-13 in 2012. The two teams met in the 2009 playoffs at Man with the Billies coming out on top 37-26. Man would advance all the way to the Class A state championship game that year.
“When you play Fayetteville you’ve got to execute,” Arms said. “You can’t make a lot of mistakes because they are a sound football team. They always play hard and are aggressive and they’ve got a good scheme that they run year after year. They execute well and you have to play well.”
The Billies are in good shape heading into the mid-way point of the season.
“We’ve played well through the first four games in all aspects of the game,” Arms said. “We’ve played well on offense, defense and special teams but we’re trying to improve every game. Hopefully this week we can take another stride and improve. We have to go back on the road and it’s always hard to play on the road. We have to be up for the challenge.”
Man had little trouble with River View last week at home, cruising to a 52-0 lead at halftime. Coach Arms then brought in his reserves in the second half, which was shortened to 16 minutes, as the Billies tacked on a two-point safely after a special teams blunder by the Raiders.
Man put up 337 yards of total offense with 200 rushing and 137 via the air, most coming in the first half of play.
Man senior QB John Thomas Keffer was 9-for-12 passing for 134 yards and three TDs.
Man was led in rushing by Jace Duba with six carries for 42 yards and a touchdown. Jake Frye had 40 yards on three carries and two scores. Dustin McCoy had 37 yards on four attempts.
Ross Osborne had 74 receiving yards on four catches with two TDs. Matt Sanders had three catches for 36 yards and one TD.
On the season, Keffer, a four-year starter under center, has completed 64.6 percent of his passes as he is 42-for-65 for 651 yards with nine touchdowns and no interceptions.
“It’s another dimension for a team, especially a high school team, to have a four-year starter,” Arms said of Keffer. “He understands everything that is going on on the field.”
McCoy has 34 rushes for 249 yards and one touchdown. Duba has 57 carries for 203 yards and two scores.
Osborne is the Billies’ leading receiver with 22 catches for 360 yards and five TDs. Sanders has reeled in 12 passes for 155 yards and three scores.
Tyler Blair and Tanner Bailey lead the Man defense with 25 total tackles apiece. Richie Nelson and Duba have 20 stops apiece. Christian McCoy has 18 tackles.
Man’s defense has only allowed 43 points all season and has been particularly good in rush defense and in the giveaway/takeaway category.
“Our defense has been outstanding,” Arms said. “They’ve been tough and physical. We’ve played pretty smart and haven’t had a whole lot of penalties. We’ve been able to get a lot of turnovers and have a few interceptions and a few fumble recoveries. The defense has played really well for us.”
Keffer, who also handles Man’s kicking duties, is 9-for-15 in PAT’s. He’s not yet attempted a field goal.
Arms said there are no major injuries heading into this week’s game.
“We’re in good shape,” he said. “We don’t have anyone at this point who is not able to play. We’ve been pretty lucky there injury-wise. We haven’t had a whole lot of injuries and hopefully that will continue the rest of the year.”
Football Friday night
WHAT: No. 1 Man (4-0) at Fayetteville (3-1)
WHEN: Friday night, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Fayetteville High School football field, Fayetteville, W.Va.
SURFACE: Natural grass
LAST WEEK: Man won 54-0 over River View … Fayetteville lost 26-13 to Meadow Bridge
INTERNET STREAM: www.manhillbillies.tv.
Man vs. Fayetteville Football Series
Since 2000 (Man leads 10-6)
2014: Man 28, Fayetteville 0
2013: Man 30, Fayetteville 25
2012: Man 48, Fayetteville 13
2011: Fayetteville 21, Man 0
2010: Fayetteville 24, Man 14
2009: Man 23, Fayetteville 7
2009: Man 37, Fayetteville 26 (Class A playoffs at Man)
2008: Man 20, Fayetteville 10
2007: Fayetteville 31, Man 14
2006: Man 40, Fayetteville 12
2005: Man 42, Fayetteville 13
2004: Man 32, Fayetteville 0
2003: Fayetteville 33, Man 12
2002: Fayetteville 34, Man 21
2001: Man 13, Fayetteville 10
2000: Fayetteville 49, Man 26
2015 Man High School
Football Schedule (4-0):
Aug. 28: Logan, W 18-13
Sept. 4: at Mount View, W 48-6
Sept. 11: at Westside, W 27-24
Sept. 18: River View, W 54-0
Sept. 25: at Fayetteville, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2: Bye week
Oct. 9: Chapmanville, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 16: at Sherman, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 23: Pocahontas County, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 30: at Tug Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 6: Van, 7:30 p.m.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1730, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).