MAN — The Man High School football team fell behind a couple of touchdowns in Friday night’s home game against Class AA Roane County and trailed just two points at half but the Raiders dominated the final two quarters and walked away from Man’s George A. Queen Memorial Stadium with a 34-12 win over the Hillbillies.
Class A Man dropped to 2-6 on the season and were eliminated from playoff contention. The Raiders, ranked No. 14 in the state in 2A, improved to 4-3.
Roane County wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard as senior running back John Ash took a third-and-three play and broke free for a 49-yard touchdown run. Kicker Hunter Bradley added the PAT and the Raiders led 7-0 with 10:45 left in the first quarter.
Man got the ball for the first time but were forced to punt on a three-and-out.
Roane County took over on its own 15-yard line after the punt but were soon again in the end zone. On a third-and-six play at the 18, Bradley connected with receiver Tyler King for 72-yard TD reception. Bradley added the extra point and Roane County led the Billies 14-0 with 7:23 remaining in the opening quarter.
Man, though, clawed its way back into the game.
The Billies were able to put together a 12-play drive, leading to a 4-yard touchdown run by David Belcher with 1:24 to go in the first quarter. The two-point conversion attempt failed but Man had trimmed the Raiders’ lead to 14-6.
Man’s defense then stood tall again, forcing Roane to a three-and-out on its next series to end the first quarter.
The Billies got the ball back on their own 39-yard stripe and moved the ball down field once again. Man was able to hammer together a 14-play drive, including a big 35-yard pass from freshman quarterback John Thomas Keffer to Belcher and ending with a 1-yard TD run by fullback Neal Mullins. The two-point conversion again failed as Roane held onto a slim 14-12 lead with 3:53 left until halftime.
Man got the ball back as Belcher intercepted a Roane pass at the Man 40.
The Billies looked to get into the end zone to take the lead after successfully converting a fourth-and-two for a first down at midfield.
But later on in the drive, Roane County’s defense stiffened, aided by a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty against Man. The Billies were later forced to punt with 29 ticks to go until the break.
In the second half, it was all Raiders as Roane County outscored Man 20-0 to grab the road victory.
Roane County was able to put together a 12-play drive, marching the ball to midfield, but turned the ball over on downs after a failed fourth-down conversion attempt.
However, three plays later, the Raiders regained possession after a Man fumble. Roane County then drove the ball 10 plays, culminating with a touchdown pass. The PAT was blocked but the Raiders led 20-12 early in the fourth quarter after a scoreless third.
Later in the fourth, Bradley broke loose for a 66-yard quarterback keeper for a touchdown to make it 28-12 after the two-point conversion.
Roane County then recovered a squib kick on the kickoff and took over possession again.
The Raiders then scored the final points of the game on another touchdown with just 18 seconds left to make it 34-12.
Roane County outgained Man in total offense 311-216. The Raiders rushed for 211 yards to Man’s 169 on 49 carries and added another 100 yards passing. Keffer was 2-for-8 passing for 47 yards for the Billies.
Braden Griffin rushed 15 times for 40 yards for Man. Belcher led the Billies on the ground with 80 yards rushing on 16 carries. Noah Maynard had seven attempts for 25 yards. Keffer ran six times for 21 yards.
Belcher had one catch for 36 yards. Tracy Jones had the other grab for 11 yards.
Bradley was 4-for-8 passing for 100 yards with two touchdowns and one pick for the Raiders.
Bradley also led the RC ground attack with 90 yards rushing on 10 carries. Ash had 12 totes for 89 yards.
Tyler King had two catches for 88 yards and a TD. Joe Copley added a 2-yard touchdown catch for the Raiders.
Maynard led the Man defense with six tackles, including two for loss.
Mullins had five tackles, while Robert Caudill and Keffer had 4.5 tackles each. Jones added four tackles for Man, while Dakota Toth and Marcus Murrell had three stops apiece. Gage Harvey finished with two tackles, including one for loss.
Tyler Osborne contributed 1.5 tackles with one for loss. Cody Gibson and Griffin had one tackle each.
Keith Kelly, Bradley and Steven McGinnis led Roane County with 6.5 tackles each.
Man is scheduled to get back into action next Friday night at Pocahontas County. The Billies then close out the season on Oct. 26 at home against Tug Valley. Man is open in Week 11 of the prep football season.