MADISON — The Man Middle School football team claimed the Black Diamond Coal Conference Championship on Saturday afternoon with a thrilling 16-14 victory over the Duval Yellowjackets at the Scott High School football field in Madison.
The Yellowjackets defeated Man last year to win the title but Man head coach Tootie Carter and his troops were not going to be denied the crown this year.
Last week in the regular season finale, Duval came to Man and handed the Pioneers their first loss of the season with a 26-6 win, thus setting up a rematch over the weekend for all the marbles.
Man won this time and closed out the season with a 7-1 mark and the conference title.
It was the exact opposite last year as Man went on road to Duval and beat them in last regular season game before the Yellowjackets were able to rebound to beat the Pioneers in the Black Diamond title game.
In Saturday’s game, Man took an early 8-0 lead with 3:51 in the first period of play as Pioneers’ QB Caleb Milton hooked up with Quinton Moody for a 30-yard TD catch. Cameron Frye ran in the two-point conversion.
That would be all the scoring in the first half of play.
The Yellowjackets later cashed in a Man fumble at the 3:54 mark of the third quarter on a 21-yard TD jaunt by Caden Easterling. He then ran in the conversion to tie the game up at 8-8.
The Pioneers answered just 70 seconds later on a 15-yard TD toss from Milton to Cameron Frye. Moody ran in the two-point conversion to give MMS a 16-8 lead with 2:44 left in the third stanza.
Duval’s Carson McComas then ran in from 3 yards out for a score to cut the Man lead to 16-14. However, the Pioneers were able to stop Duval on the conversion and cling to a 16-14 advantage with 7:56 left in the game.
Man was unable to move the ball and Duval took over on its own 45.
Sam Milton then came up big with a interception to give Man the ball with 5:55 left on the clock.
Man’s trio of runners in Zack Frye, brother Cameron Frye and Quinton Moody ran the ball at will, chewing up the clock with the Man offensive front paving the way.
The Yellowjackets were finally able to hold Man with just under a minute to play.
The Pioneers’ defense then held off Duval to preserve the win and claim the Black Diamond Coal Conference title.