MAN —- The Van Bulldogs ended their 2013 season with a 61-6 loss to high-flying Man in Friday night football action. It was a dramatic change to a season that began on a sour note for Man, as they lost to Logan County Class AAA rival Logan. But Man reeled off nine straight wins to earn the fifth spot in the post-season Single A playoffs.
Friday night’s win was just a taste of how powerful the Hillbillies have played down the stretch. For Van, it was the fourth straight loss as they ended their year at 3-7.
Now, Man will host Bishop Donahue in the playoff opener at 1:30 p.m., Saturday. The winner of that game will face the victor in the Williamstown-Wheeling Central contest in the second round.
It was Senior Night at George A. Queen Memorial Field Friday and the Billies celebrated in style. It will be the team’s first playoff appearance in four years after three straight losing seasons.
Man’s veteran Coach Harvey Arms has led the Billies to five playoff appearances in his 12 years at the helm of the squad. They last played for the state championship in 2009 at Wheeling Island Stadium where they lost to Weirton Madonna.
After the game, Arms called the 9-1 season “a heck of a lot better than 2-8.”
Man jumped on the scoreboard first, with 8:57 on the clock, on an 11-yard touchdown run by Mikie Scott Rowe. Cayce Mullins missed the extra-point try and it was 6-0, Man.
After the Van offense was frustrated on its possession, Neil Mullins went in for a five-yard touchdown and the race was on. With 6:40 in the first remaining, Man again missed its extra-point try and it was 12-0.
Van went nowhere on its next possession and it took Man little time to make it 18-0. This time, Braden Griffin went in from three yards out for the Billies. The kick was again not good.
Man added another score as time expired on the opening period. Tracy Jones handled a Van punt and took it all the way to the house from 55 yards out to make it 24-0. That ended the first frame for the depleted Bulldogs, who dressed just 14 players for the game.
With 9:03 left in the half and Man operating with several back-up players, Damian White scored on a three-yard run. The score went to 30-0 as a two-point conversion try failed.
With the starters back in for a final series of downs, quarterback John Thomas Keffer connected with Jones for a 30-yard touchdown pass. Mullins split the uprights with his kick this time and it was 37-0 with 8:41 twinkling on the first half clock.
With 2:40 remaining in the opening half, Van’s Patrick Wiley scampered home from 45 yards out to make it 43-0. The two-point conversion was good and it was 45-0 and the match was decided.
White scored again with 43 seconds left in the third quarter on a 17-yard hustle. Dustin McCoy ran in the two-point conversion and it was 53-0.
Van finally scored as the fourth quarter began when John Lambert grabbed a 35-yard touchdown pass from Cole Price to make it 53-6.
Man scored the last points of the game on a five-yard touchdown run by McCoy with 3:19 remaining The two-point conversion accounted for the 61-6 final.
In total offense, Man outgained the Bulldogs, 464-128.