Hillbillies clinch playoff berth with 24-8 win over Panthers


Man quarterback Jayden Brumfield is forced out of bounds by Tug Valley's Austin Smith after picking up a first down in the second quarter of Man's 24-8 victory over Tug Valley (Dave Adkins/Dave's Sports Page).


Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports


NAUGATUCK Shaking off a turnover plagued first quarter Class A No. 12 Man won its seventh game of the season Friday night, turning back No. 14 Tug Valley 24-8 in a battle of Class A ranked teams at Bob Brewer Stadium.


The Hillbillies improved to 7-2 on the season and clinched a Class A playoff berth with the victory and can clinch a berth in the top eight and the right to host a first round playoff game with a win over county rival and Class AA No. 13 Chapmanville in the regular season finale.


Man turned the ball over on its first three offensive possessions in the first quarter, yet they still led 9-8 after one quarter and outgained Tug Valley 202-83 in the opening quarter, however, the Hillbillies couldn’t put any more points on the board because they couldn’t keep possession.


Man lost two fumbles, one on the Tug Valley 3 and the other on the Panther 21, and had a pass intercepted at the Panther 26 on its first three possessions of the first quarter.


The first fumble following a Jordan Adams 57-yard run didn’t hurt the Hillbillies as it would eventually result in a safety. Following an encroachment penalty against Man and a false start penalty against Tug Valley, the Hillbillies got on the board when Jim Green chased Tug Valley quarterback Jaxon Nenni-Mills out of the endzone to give Man a 2-0 lead with 11:13 to play.


Green’s fumble on Man’s next possession at the Panther 21 was scooped up by Tug Valley’s Austin Smith and returned 46 yards to the Hillbilly 33.


Three plays later Adam Slone ran in from 10-yards and Bryson Eli added the two-point conversion to give Tug Valley an 8-2 lead with 6:53 to play in the opening quarter.


Jayden Brumfield was intercepted by Eli at the Panther 26, who returned the interception for an apparent 74-yard pick six, however, the touchdown was nullified by a block in the back penalty at the Panther 45.


Tug Valley drove to the Man 29 in six plays, but Green came up with an interception of Eli to give the Hillbillies the ball at their own 19 late in the first quarter.


Facing a 3rd-and-9 from its own 18, Brumfield hit freshman wide receive Trey Ward over the middle for an 82-yard touchdown. Jaxon Tipton’s extra point put the Hillbillies ahead, 9-8, with 0:19 remaining in the first quarter.


For Ward, who was making his season debut, it was his only reception of the game, meanwhile Tipton, who kicked a second PAT in the fourth quarter, has converted his last 25 extra points and is 34 for 38 on the year.


Adams added a 5-yard touchdown with 0:33 remaining in the second quarter and Chris Isaacs ran in the two-point conversion to give Man a 17-8 lead.


Brumfield put the final two nails in the Tug Valley coffin when he ran in from 32-yards out with 5:21 remaining in the fourth quarter and intercepted Eli with 5:07 to play.

The Panthers, who started the season 4-0, have lost three of their last five games and two of their three games at home. Tug Valley remains alive for a playoff berth but face a must win scenario at Van. The Bulldogs (9-0), ranked seventh in Class A, are one of five remaining unbeatens in West Virginia’s small school division.


Eli ran for 103 yards on 20 carries and Slone added 85 yards on 12 carries and one touchdown for Tug Valley. Nenni-Mills, starting in place of Elijah Fluty who set out his second consecutive game after suffering a concussion in the Panthers loss to Mount View on Oct. 14, completed 4 of 10 passes for 24 yards and one interception. Eli caught two passes for 13 yards.


Brumfield, Green and Jacob Walls each had an interception for Man, whose bend but not break defensive tendencies held the Panthers to 216 total yards.


Man totaled 407 yards of offense in the win. Adams rushed for 95 yards on 17 carries and one touchdown. Brumfield was 5 of 8 through the air for 163 yards, one touchdown and one interception and ran for 49 yards on nine carries and one touchdown.


Isaacs caught three passes for 80 yards and Green carried the ball seven times for 72 yards for the Hillbillies.


Man 24, Tug Valley 8

Man 9 8 0 7- 24

TV 8 0 0 0- 8

First Quarter

M- Safety, Green tackled Nenni-Mills in endzone, 11:13

TV- Slone 10 run (Eli run), 6:53

M- Ward 82 pass from Brumfield (Tipton kick), 0:19

Second Quarter

M- Adams 5 run (Isaacs run), 0:33

Fourth Quarter

M- Brumfield 32 run (Tipton kick), 5:21

Individual Statistics

RUSHING- Man: Adams 17-95, Brumfield 9-49, Green 7-72, Mullins 5-35, Baisden 3-0, Morgan 1-0, Tipton 1-(minus 5). Tug Valley: Eli 20-103, Slone 12-85, Nenni-Mills 4-(minus 11), Damron 1-7, Marcum 1-0.

PASSING- Man: Brumfield 5-8-1 163. Tug Valley: Nenni-Mills 4-10-1 24, Marcum 1-2-0 8, Eli 0-4-2 0.

RECEIVING- Man: Isaacs 3-80, Ward 1-82, Miller 1-1. Tug Valley: Eli 2-13, Damron 1-8, Slone 1-8, Brewer 1-3.

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