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Hillbillies look to rebound against Golden Knights

Man quarterback Jayden Brumfield looks for running game during the first quarter of the Hillbillies 20-7 loss to county rival Logan last Thursday night at Willis-Nisbet Stadium. (Boothe Davis/Captured by the Moment Photography)

Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports

MAN For fans of Man High School, the season did not get off to the start they wanted.

The Hillbillies fell 20-7 to county rival Logan last week at Willis-Nisbet Stadium, and look to get back on track Friday night when they host McDowell County rival Mount View in their home opener.

In the loss to Logan, Man had difficulties tackling Wildcat quarterback Jaxon Cogar, who rushed for 132 yards and one touchdown.

“We didn’t tackle the quarterback very well,” Man coach Harvey Arms said. “He sometimes carried us a few yards and got a lot of YAC (yards after contact)”

Penalties were also an issue in the Hillbillies season opening loss to the Wildcats. Man was flagged 12 times for 81 yards. Four of those 12 penalties resulted in first downs for the Wildcats while other penalties killed offensive drives for the Hillbillies.

“We would start a drive then have a holding penalty that cost us that drive,” Arms said. “Hopefully it was just a lot of first game mistakes and hopefully we will get over them this week.”

Despite being outgained 276-87 in total yards, running 26 plays to Logan’s 60 and only possessing the ball for 15:24, Arms didn’t think the Hillbillies played as bad as the numbers may indicate.

Man, who fell behind 20-0 at halftime, got on the board when Jacob Walls returned an interception 38 yards with 6:04 to play in the third quarter.

With Logan driving on its next possession, defensive end Lukas Haney returned a Cogar fumble 23 yards to give Man the ball at the Wildcat 36 with 1:08 remaining in the third quarter.

The Hillbillies would advance the ball to the Wildcats 20, but a holding penalty moved the ball back to the Wildcat 31.

On the next play, quarterback Jayden Brumfield was intercepted by Aiden Slack at the Wildcat 8 with 10:33 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Hillbillies would never get the ball back as the Wildcats ran out the remaining 10:33 to secure the victory.

“We got the fumble, but didn’t convert that and we probably should have, but we get that one in the endzone which would have been big too,” Arms said. “You are never happy with a loss, but we didn’t play that badly I think.”

With week one in the rearview mirror, Man now turns its attention to Mount View in search of win number one on the year.

The Golden Knights, a Class A quarterfinalist from last season, defeated county rival River View, 24-8, in the annual Battle of the Views game last week at River View’s Mitchell Estep Field.

Mount View lost a number of skilled athletes to graduation last season including leading rusher TJ Bell, who rushed for 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns, and leading receiver Tony Bailey, who caught 42 passes for 805 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushed for 453 yards and five more scores, in total Bailey accounted for 21 touchdowns last season for the Golden Knights.

Senior quarterback Ryan Long returns for the Golden Knights. Long completed 105-of-199 passes for 1,903 yards and 24 touchdowns and just seven interceptions last season.

Senior Jaylen Hall returns at wide receiver after hauling in 24 receptions for 555 yards and five touchdowns last season as a junior. Hall caught two touchdown passes in the season opening win over River View last season.

“They always have that skill personnel that can beat you in a heartbeat,” Arms said. “You got to always be responsible for your coverage because if they get by you, they are going to run.”

Arms is hopeful that the Hillbillies can move the ball on a Mount View defense that is having to replace its top four leading tacklers from last season.

Senior Chris Goins as well as juniors Jonathan Gregg and Thomas Ward and sophomores James Ferrell, James Gianato and David Harman return for the Golden Knights on the front line.

“They are not as big up front as they normally are, so hopefully we can move the ball on the ground,” Arms said. “Hopefully we can move it without penalties. We moved it fairly well last but I think just about every drive we had a penalty.”

Man leads the all-time series with Mount View, 25-18-0. The Hillbillies and Golden Knights have played every year with the exception of 2020 when COVID protocols caused an interruption in the series.

“Year in and year out we have played them every year since I have been here except the COVID year,” Arms said

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