MAN — You can’t take anything for granted in the world of high school football.
The Man High School football team, after falling a couple of weeks ago to county rival Chapmanville in the “Battle of the Unbeatens,” bounced back last Friday night with an easy 48-6 win on the road at Sherman.
The Hillbillies, ranked No. 4 in the state last week in the Class A WVSSAC Ratings and No. 6 this week in the media poll, have aspirations of running the table the rest of the way.
Man currently sits at 6-1 but will have a tough one on Friday night at home as an improved and rolling Pocahontas County team comes to town.
Pocahontas County is 6-2 and riding a four-game winning streak following last week’s 49-22 victory at Tygarts Valley.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Man’s George A. Queen Memorial Field.
The Warriors were ranked No. 13 in the state last week in the SSAC Ratings and will present a challenge for the Billies.
The Warriors opened the season with a 52-16 win at home over Tucker County, then were blown out 68-28 at home to a ranked Moorefield team. PC then won 27-12 at home over Pendleton County and lost 28-20 at East Hardy on Sept. 18 in Week 4.
The Warriors then won 56-0 at home over Richwood, won 20-6 at Bath County (Va.) and won 39-20 at Greenbrier West before last week’s victory over Tygarts Valley.
“They only have two losses — one to East Hardy and the other to Moorefield and those are two of the top teams in Single-A,” Man coach Harvey Arms said of the Warriors. “It’s a challenge for us.”
Pocahontas County is led by quarterback Wyatt Workman, who tossed two TDs covering 69 and 37 yards to wide receiver J.D. Hensler in the win over Greenbrier West a couple of weeks ago. Hensler is also the Warriors’ kicker and punter.
Workman can also run with the ball and had touchdown runs of 15 and 18 against West. He is also the starting strong safety for the Warriors.
“Most of their offense seems to be centered around him,” Arms said of Workman. “Their quarterback can throw the ball and he can run it. They look like they are a big team and they have a lot of size.”
Leading the Pocahontas County ground game is running back Morgan Mason, who had an 8-yard TD run against Greenbrier West.
“They also have speed at running back,” Arms said of Pocahontas.
Top linemen for PCHS include Drake Warder, Danny Kimble, Caleb Mullenax, Mark Jordan and Keith Harrah.
Man had no trouble with Sherman last week, leading 48-0 until the Tide were able to break Man’s shutout bid with a late touchdown.
Man senior All-State candidate and quarterback John Thomas Keffer went over 4,000 yards passing in his career by passing for 154 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Billies to victory last week. He completed 8-for-13 of his passes.
Keffer has thrown for 1,068 yards this season, completing 69-of-107 of his throws with 14 touchdowns and only two interceptions.
The Billies racked up 250 yards on the ground last week, led by Jake Frye with 90 yards on nine carries and one touchdown. Jace Duba had 86 yards on 18 attempts and two TDs, while Dustin McCoy added another 57 yards on eight carries and one score.
Duba has 118 rushes for 619 yards and seven TDs on the season. McCoy has 62 carries for 419 yards and two scores. Frye has 220 yards on 37 carries and four TDs. Keffer has another 146 yards on 54 carries and eight TDs.
So far, Man’s “running back by committe” system has worked quite well.
“Like I said back at the first of the season we didn’t think that we would have just one back with a lot of great statistics, so we would have to run by committee,” Arms said. “Our guys have done really well at it. Last Friday night, the stats were pretty well even. Frye had a long run that went for about 38 yards. All together their stats were pretty close. That’s good for us. The more people that we can get involved and the more people we have ready to play the better that we are.”
On defense, Man was led last week by Duba with seven tackles, one interception and one sack.
Man’s defensive unit has been stout all fall, giving up only 89 points all year with 35 of those coming to Chapmanville in the Billies’ lone loss of the season.
The Billies have a shutout and have only given up a single touchdown in three more games — mostly against Man’s second-team defense. The Hillbillies have been good against both the run and the pass.
“Our defense has really played well,” Arms said. “We controlled the line of scrimmage last week. That always gives you an advantage in a ballgame whenever you can do that.”
Arms again reports no major injuries heading into Friday night’s game.
Heading into Week 9 of the season that’s great news for the Billies, which have not been bitten by the injury bug much at all.
“We’re OK,” Arms said. “At the end of the season you get guys with aches and pains and bruises but I think we are ready to go. We hope that we can keep avoiding the injuries. That’s what happened to us last year. We got to the end of the season and that’s when we got struck by the injury bug. We have to prevent that from happening.”
Football Friday night
WHAT: Pocahontas County (6-2) at Man (6-1)
WHEN: Friday night, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: George A. Queen Memorial Field, Man, W.Va.
SURFACE: Field Turf
LAST WEEK: Man won 48-6 at Sherman … Pocahontas County won 49-22 at Tygarts Valley.
INTERNET STREAM: www.manhillbillies.tv
Man vs. Pocahontas County Series
Last 10 years (PC leads 3-2)
2014: Man 38, Pocahontas County 10
2013: Man 42, Pocahontas County 0
2012: Pocahontas County 7, Man 6
2011: Pocahontas County 15, Man 7
2010: Pocahontas County 21, Man 0
(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).