VAN, W.Va. — The Man Hillbillies came to Van and took advantage of Bulldog turnovers and managed to stifle their running game on their way to a 46-7 victory.
From the opening kickoff, Man controlled the pace of the game and Van’s only score came on a toss from quarterback Caleb Green to running back Brady Grant just prior to the end of the first half, where the Bulldogs found themselves down by three scores.
Coach Steve Price said that the game proved frustrating because due to injury, the Bulldogs were forced to improvise their running game. “We couldn’t run our full house backfield,” he said. “Cole (Price) is still nursing a sore knee he sprained two weeks ago.
We made some bad decisions with the ball and got behind and couldn’t come back from it.” Running back Grant, who has rushed for over 1900 yards and 27 touchdowns this season suffered a laceration on his hand that required stitches. He was held to 37 yards on 15 touches in the contest.
Coach Price said that his star back would be available for playoff action. The prognosis for 3-year starter Alex Gibson wasn’t as good as he suffered a broken collarbone in the game and is done for the season.
Lineman Dakota Phillips also suffered an injury in the game. Class AA Man (5-5) salvaged their season with the win but the loss did not affect Class A Van’s playoff hopes, but the injuries certainly give the team something to work on this week.
“We have some work to do in our secondary,” said Price. “We’ll have our kids ready to play.”
No. 14 Van will face undefeated No. 3 Fayetteville on Friday in the opening round of the playoffs in Fayetteville.
Coach Price said that his opponent is athletic but that Van has a size advantage, particularly in the trenches that his team will try to use to their advantage. “We believe that we can move the ball and score points,” he said.
Class A No.11 Sherman (8-2) will face No. 6 Wheeling Central (8-1) in Wheeling. If both Boone County Schools could pull upsets, the rivals would face each other in a rematch of an earlier meeting this season that saw the Bulldogs prevail, 30-13.