MAN, W.Va. — The Man High School football team’s defense has been ram tough this season.
It’s one of the reasons the Hillbillies are 4-1 heading into Friday night’s big county clash at Chapmanville (4-2).
Man hopes that translates into another win this week as the Billies take on the explosive offense of the Tigers, led by quarterback Adam Vance, wideout/running back Dylan Smith and top running back Tristan Browning.
Going into last week’s game, Man was allowing just 234.5 yards per game and 144 yards on the ground.
Man has only given up 24 points in its last three wins.
In last week’s 26-10 victory at Lincoln County, Man’s defense stepped up once again, scoring two touchdowns and yielding just 174 total yards to the Panthers, including a touchdown and a field goal. Lincoln County had just 27 rushes for 73 net yards and 101 in the air.
The Billies reached the end zone twice on defense with Seth Osborne’s 80-yard fumble return for a touchdown and the go-ahead score and Kayne Brown’s interception of Jake Ashley in the end zone which put the game away with only 1:25 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Matt Sanders and Nick Albright also had interceptions in the game for the Billies. Man also had two sacks — one each by Tyler Blair and Seth Chapman.
Osborne led the way with nine tackles, a forced fumble and the fumble return for a TD. Blair had eight tackles, Brock Muncy six and Josh Vanover five.
“We’re getting solid play from our first 11 on defense and also from the guys that sub in. We are playing well especially up front,” Man coach Harvey Arms said. “Our defensive line is playing really well. It has shown in the last four games that we have won. Most of the credit probably goes to the defense.”
It’s been a team effort for the Billies on defense this season and Man has shown much improvement after the hiccup in the opener when the Billies lost 48-13 at Logan.
On the season, Blair leads the team with 44 total tackles, a sack and a pass deflection.
Muncy has 43 tackles, while Osborne has 31 stops and also two blocked passes.
DJ Browning has 20 tackles and three sacks, while Austin Bragg has 21 total tackles and Sanders 14 with two picks.
Brown and Chapman each have 15 tackles. Chapman has two sacks and a forced fumble. Brown has one sack, two interceptions and a forced fumble.
The defensive balance has been one of the keys to the Billies being able to hold opposing offenses in check.
“That’s good for us because everybody is chipping in and taking care of their responsibilities and making plays. In our winning stretch we haven’t really given up many big plays. And for the most part haven’t given up many long drives. It’s because our defense has been playing so well.”
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).