Man hits the field before the start of their game with Independence two weeks ago. The Hillbillies will travel to Tug Valley Friday night where a win would clinch a Class A playoff berth (Dave Adkins/Dave's Sports Page).
MAN The Man Hillbillies can clinch its first playoff berth in three season with a win over the Tug Valley Panthers tonight at Bob Brewer Stadium.
The winner of tonight’s battle between ranked Class A schools will clinch a berth in the playoffs as the Hillbillies (6-2), ranked 12th in the Class A, and the Panthers (6-2), ranked 14th in Class A, meet for the 12th time in school history.
The loser of tonight’s game is not eliminated from postseason contention as they would need a win in next week’s regular season finale.
“It’s been a strange situation, us and Tug Valley have been in the same situation,” Man coach Harvey Arms said. “We have the same record; we both have tough games to close the season and we both have one home and one away to close the year.”
Man, who has been ranked in the top 12 of Class A all season, is still in contention to host a first round playoff game with a win tonight and win next week at home against county rival and Class AA No. 13 Chapmanville.
“I am not really good at predicting the points, but I feel we are in a good situation if we win our last two games,” Arms said. “This has been a strange year in single A because so many teams have gone undefeated this long in this season.”
Six schools are unbeaten in Class A and six others have just one loss. Two of those six with one loss, No. 1 Williamstown and No. 4 Wheeling Central, suffered their first loss of the season last week.
“Some of the those just picked up their first loss of the season and there is one (Montcalm) behind us that hasn’t lost,” Arms said. “It makes it tough when you get a bunch of undefeated teams. We will just have to play it out and see.”
Man is coming off a bye week and according to Arms the Hillbillies worked on fundamentals and schemes before spending this past week preparing for Tug Valley.
Two weeks ago, the Hillbillies lost to Class AA No. 3 Independence, 54-0, but Arms doesn’t feel that his team played poorly in the defeat considering Independence has outscored the opposition 454-31 in eight games this season.
“I thought we played well against them,” Arms said. "When you look at the statistics of all the other games they have played, I think we played as well against them as anybody if not better than most.”
Tug Valley started the season 4-0 but has lost two of its last four games and is coming off a 49-7 win over Westside, a team Man defeated 41-0 on Sept. 9.
Westside is one of three common opponents that Man and Tug Valley have faced this season. Shady Spring and Mount View are the other two.
Tug Valley defeated Shady Spring 32-21 in the season opener and lost to Mount View, 32-7, two weeks ago.
Man, on the other hand, has defeated Mount View, 39-7, on Sept. 2 and defeated Shady Spring, 41-22, on Oct. 7.
Despite the results, Arms knows that Tug Valley is a good team and is very similar to his team.
“I see a good football team and Mount View is one of those teams that at any given moment can come up with skill people that can make big plays and make it tough on you,” Arms said. “They (Tug Valley) throw the ball well and they run the ball well.”
“I think we are pretty common in size,” Arms said. "They have some guys that can run the ball, they got some good receivers and they got a good team.”