Several good high school football games are on tap this Friday night in the area.
Man will visit James H. “Buck” Harless Stadium to play Mingo Central, Belfry travels to Inez to take on Sheldon Clark and Tolsia will be at Naugatuck to play Tug Valley.
Man at Mingo Central
Mingo Central (2-1) has bounced back with two good wins against Westside and River View, after a loss in the season opener to Wyoming East.
Friday’s Man-Mingo Central game is dubbed the John Fry Bowl, honoring the late Mingo Central assistant coach who passed away suddenly over the summer. Fry was just 27 years old at the time of his death.
Senior Joe May leads the Miners offense. He has made some big plays and scored six touchdowns in the last two games. The speedy senior has also rushed for about 400 yards in three games and also catches passes to pick up important yardage for Coach Yogi Kinder.
Freshman quarterback Stevie Hammond has directed the Miners on offense and has grown by leaps and bounds. He scored twice last week against Westside. Junior Alex Lee has also been an important part of the offense.
The defense has been led by seniors Garth Simpkins, Israel Reynolds and newcomer Joe Hall, along with junior Drew Kirk. Kinder has also seen big improvement in his young offensive line.
The Miners, ranked No. 12 in the SSAC ranking this week, would like to get revenge over the Hillbillies. Man defeated Mingo Central last season in their first year. The Hillbillies beat Mingo Central 22-8 in last year’s first-ever meeting between the two schools.
Man comes into the game after at 22-13 road loss to the common opponent River View Raiders, ranked last week No. 16 in the state in Class AA.
Man is led by Braden Griffin who led the Billies with 127 yards rushing on 20 carries and two touchdowns last week. David Belcher added 50 yards on 12 attempts. Neal Mullins was held to 19 yards rushing on eight carries. Man freshman quarterback John Thomas Keffer was 2-for-11 passing for 27 yards.
Belfry at Sheldon Clark
The Belfry Pirates (3-1) travel to Martin County to take on regional rival Sheldon Clark (3-2).
It’s hard to believe, but the Cardinals have played half of their regular season games. This will be the midway point for Belfry as they play their fifth game of the season.
The Pirates balanced ground attack continues to roll up yardage and points. They defeated Pikeville 48-0 last week. On the other hand, Belfry’s defense continues to stifle opponents, shutting out Pikeville and holding Prestonsburg to just six points. The only glitch on the Belfry defense was the 40 points 6A Lexington Henry Clay put on the scoreboard.
Coach Philip Haywood has a balanced offensive attack led by junior signal caller Sani Warren. He has a surplus of running backs with senior Josh Robinson, juniors Trinity Carr, Justin Johnson and sophomores Keaton Taylor and Austin Hatfield. Senior tight end Tony Messer and junior split end Cameron Johnson are two of the receivers that Warren can hook up with.
Sheldon Clark, coached by Belfry alumnus Shawn Hager, has won three games this season. The only two losses were on the road at Prestonsburg and Perry County Central, and both games were close.
The Cardinals have a couple of impressive freshmen in quarterback in Bryce Workman, along with Brandon Butcher, and senior running backs Tyler O’Connor and Chase Lafferty.
Hager’s young, but big offensive line, continues to improve. He just hopes his defense will get better, especially going up against the hard-driving Pirate ground attack.
Tolsia at Tug Valley
Tug Valley will renew an old rivalry with Tolsia this Friday. Former Panther Coach Mike Smith is now coaching the Rebels, while Tony Clusky has taken over for Tug Valley.
The Panthers (3-1) will take on a much-improved Tolsia (2-2) squad. The Rebels have won their last two games, a 12-9 win over Fairland, Ohio and a 46-7 romp of Herbert Hoover.
Tolsia has had some tough times the past couple of seasons, but it looks as though Smith’s team may have turned the corner.
Tug Valley is led by seniors Mikey Newsome, Aaron Muncy, Isaac Parsley and Corey Dillon. Juniors David Runyon and Jesse Mays have also been an important part of the offense and defense.
Tolsia is led by Dawson Presley rushed 12 times for 141 yards in last week’s victory over Herbert Hoover. Coach Mike Smith has played a pair of quarterbacks with Dakota Robinson and freshman Blake Rose. Both could see action against Tug Valley. Receiver Brandon Ward is the main target in the passing game.
The Panthers come into the game tied for 13th in the WVSSAC rankings this week.
Other games of interest in the region are: East Ridge at Pike Central, Chapmanville at Logan, Scott at Poca, Wyoming East at Mount View, Independence at Westside, James Monroe at River View and Wayne at Sissonville.