MAN, W.Va. — No one seemed to give the Man High School football team much of a chance to make it to the playoffs this season.
Heading back up to Class AA ball and facing a tough schedule with the likes of Point Pleasant and Bluefield still yet to play many people seemed to write the Billies off.
Man, however, is proving the naysayers wrong as the Billies are 3-1 heading into this week’s bye week.
The Billies won their third straight game with last week’s thrilling 7-0 overtime win on the road at River View.
It was the second week in a row Man had pulled off an overtime win.
Two weeks ago, the Billies won in three extra periods by defeating Mount View, 45-44, at home, saved by the leg of kicker Zach Cook, who booted an extra point kick to lift the Billies to victory and to avoid the tie game.
After falling 48-13 at county rival Logan in the opener, Man started off the streak with Week 2’s 27-14 upset win over then top 10-ranked Westside.
The Billies entered last week ranked No. 14 in the state in the WVSSAC Class AA Football Ratings, which determine the top 16 post-season teams in each class.
Man was ranked 14th this week in the WV MetroNews Power Index with this week’s SSAC ratings set to be released on Tuesday afternoon.
The Billies have some winnable games coming up so it’s likely Man will stay in the playoff chase.
After Friday night’s open date, Man returns to the gridiron on Sept. 30 at winless Lincoln County (0-4), a former Class AAA school, which is just 18-84 all time. The two schools have never played each other in football.
Lincoln County has losses this season to Point Pleasant (44-6), Roane County (43-7), Logan (40-13) and last week at Princeton (31-8).
A win there over the Panthers and Man would be 4-1 heading into the all-important Oct. 7 clash at county rival Chapmanville Regional in what could prove to be the pivital game of the season for the Hillbillies. The Tigers (2-2) play at Logan (3-1) this Friday night.
Man then has a pair of back-to-back tough home games against Bluefield and Point Pleasant. The Bluefield Beavers are just 1-3 so far in the grid campaign but will prove to be a difficult foe. Point Pleasant is 4-0 and ranked No. 3 in the state.
Man then closes out against a pair of perceived beatable Class A teams — Oct. 28 at home vs. Tug Valley and Nov. 4 at Van.
Man and Tug Valley split last season with the Billies winning at Naugatuck in the regular season and falling at home to the Panthers in the first round of the playoffs. Tug Valley has beaten Man two years in a row in the post-season.
Seth Chapman got what proved to be the game winning touchdown in overtime last week with a 2-yard run. Kayne Brown then stripped River View’s quarterback of the ball to end the game on the Raiders’ OT possession.
The Man defense held the Raiders to just 128 yards of total offense and just five first downs on the night.
Man QB Cameron Simpson was 9 of 20 passing for 114 yards.
Freshman Zack Frye had 41 yards on nine carries, while Simpson had 37 yards on 13 tries. Man’s Trey Whitt had three catches for 60 yards.
* Man received eight votes in this week’s Class AA WV MetroNews Power Index and are ranked 14th in the state.
Logan dropped out of the top 10 to 12th in the state after last week’s 41-12 loss at Point Pleasant.
Bridgeport (4-0) is ranked No. 1 in the state in Class AA, while Fairmont Senior (3-0) is second, Point Pleasant (4-0) third, Mingo Central (3-0) fourth and James Monroe (3-0) fifth. Keyser (3-1) is sixth, Nicholas County (4-0) seventh, Weir (3-1) eighth, Winfield (2-1) ninth and Herbert Hoover (3-1) 10th.
Lewis County is 11th and Sissonville 13th. Grafton, Independence, Lincoln and Braxton County also received votes.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).