Van in playoffs despite loss

By Jerry Fekete - For the Coal Valley News

Van defender pushes the Man runner out of bounds.

MAN — The Man High School football team closed out the regular season with a 42-22 win at home on Friday night over the Van Bulldogs at Man’s George A. Queen Memorial Field on Senior Night.

The win assured Man (8-2) a Class A home playoff game next weekend. The Hillbillies are projected to be the No. 5 seed and play host to No. 12 Tug Valley (7-3) in a rematch of last year’s first-round playoff game which was won by the Panthers, 16-12, at Mingo Central.

Van closes out 7-3 and is the projected No. 16 seed for the playoffs. That would put the Bulldogs in a first-round playoff game at No. 1 and undefeated Magnolia.

Man went into Friday’s game ranked No. 6 in Class A, while Van was 14th.

The win over the Bulldogs avenged a defeat to Van in last year’s regular season finale.

Man quarterback John Thomas Keffer had a career game, tossing six touchdown for 329 yards as he ripped the Van secondary apart. Keffer was 17-for-24 passing and was intercepted once.

Ross Osborne and Matt Sanders both had over 100 yards in receiving for Man.

“The kids played great. The good thing is that it was Senior Night and they all stepped up and played well,” Man coach Harvey Arms said. “Keffer had his best game and all the receivers played well with Osborne, Brown, Adkins and Sanders. Our line blocked well and the defense played well.”

Van took the opening kickoff and took over at mid-field. The Bulldogs marched down to the Man 9-yard line, chewing up the clock before the Billies’ defense stepped up and held the Bulldogs on downs with 3:23 left in the opening quarter as Man took over on its own 10-yard line.

On third down, Keffer was intercepted by Kenneth Gibson at the Man 34-yard line The Man defense pushed the Dogs back and forced a punt as the first period ended in a scoreless tie.

Man took over on its own 29-yard line and marched 71 yards on 12 plays capped off by Keffer’s first of six TD’s on a 15-yard pass to Sanders with 7:06 to play. The conversion pass failed as the Billies took a 6-0 lead.

Van then got the football at its own 40-yard line but Man’s Nick Collins recovered a fumble at the Man 47-yard stripe. Five plays later, Keffer hit senior Jake Adkins for a 22-yard TD pass at the three-minute mark. Sanders caught the point after conversion to give MHS a 14-0 lead.

Then on the ensuing kickoff Man’s Seth Osborne recovered a fumble, giving the Billies the ball. Then just three plays later, Keffer found Ross Osborne open on a 55-yard TD strike. The two-point conversion pass failed and Man took a commanding 20-0 lead with 1:59 to play in the first half. That would be the score at the break.

Van started off the second half by recovering a fumbly by Man’s Collins at the MHS 30-yard line. Four plays later, the Bulldogs got on the scoreboard on a 16-yard TD pass from Logan Crouse to Cole Price. Tyler Stewart then caught the conversion pass from Crouse to make it 20-8 with 9:57 to go in the third.

The Billies then wasted no time, marching 60 yards to pay dirt on their next drive, capped off by a 1-yard TD pass from Keffer to Ross Osborne. Gabby Brown then caught the conversion pass from Keffer to make it 28-8 with 8:12 remaining in the third period.

The Man defense, led by Richie Nelson and Christain McCoy, then stopped the Bulldogs at the Man 35-yard line.

Seven plays later, Man struck gold again as Keffer found his favorite target Ross Osborne on a 7-yard touchdown strike. The drive was kept alive by a big 17-yard run by Dustin McCoy. The PAT run failed as Man took a commanding 34-8 advantage with 2:58 to play in the third quarter. That’s how the third period would end.

Van’s Crouse then return a Man punt 40 yards for a touchdown with 10:22 to play in the game. The conversion was good as the Bulldogs closed to within 34-16.

The Billies added their final score of the game with Keffer’s sixth TD pass — a 28-yarder to Adkins with 7:34 to play. Ross Osborne caught the conversion pass from Keffer to make it 42-16.

Coach Arms then went to his second team the rest of the game.

Van’s first team scored on the Man reserves with 27 seconds left in the game on a 15-yard touchdown run by Brady Grant. The point after pass failed as the game closed out with Man winning 42-22.

Ross Osborne had eight catches for 108 yards and three TD’s, while Sanders had 122 yards on five catches and one score. Adkins had two catches for 49 yards, both being touchdowns.

The Billies were led in rushing by Dustin McCoy with 38 yards on nine carries.

Crouse was 13-for-19 passing for 130 yards and one touchdown. Brady Grant led the Bulldogs in rushing with 93 yards on 17 carries.

On defense, Man was led by Richie Nelson with 11 tackles, followed by Christian McCoy with 10 and Ross Osborne seven tackles and an interception.

Jace Duba had five tackles and Tanner Bailey with four, including a force fumble. Seth Chapman and Collins had three tackles each. Seth Osborne had two tackles and a fumble recovery.


2015 Man High School

Football Schedule (8-2):

Aug. 28: Logan, W 18-13

Sept. 4: at Mount View, W 48-6

Sept. 11: at Westside, W 27-24

Sept. 18: River View (Hall of Fame Game), W 54-0

Sept. 25: at Fayetteville, W 26-6

Oct. 2: Bye week

Oct. 9: Chapmanville (Homecoming), L 28-35

Oct. 16: at Sherman, W 48-6

Oct. 23: Pocahontas County, L 14-40

Oct. 30: at Tug Valley, W 14-12 (OT)

Nov. 6: Van, W 42-22

Van defender pushes the Man runner out of bounds. defender pushes the Man runner out of bounds.

By Jerry Fekete

For the Coal Valley News

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