NEWTOWN — The Man High School football team suffered its third straight loss of the season with Friday night’s 30-14 defeat to Mingo Central at the Miners’ James H. “Buck” Harless Stadium in the John Fry Bowl.
The game honored the late John Fry, a former Mingo Central assistant coach, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 27.
Friday’s contest was a game of big plays.
Mingo Central senior Joe May stole the show as he rushed 22 times for 169 yards and scored four touchdowns on runs of 62 and 10 and also scored twice on punt returns of 77 and 72 yards.
Class A Man (1-4) was without the services of leading rusher Braden Griffin, who is suffering from a hamstring pull. He is expected to return to play this Friday night in Man’s homecoming game against Fayetteville.
Man was held to just 104 yards of total offense. Class AA Mingo Central (3-1), which lost 22-8 at Man last season, had 272 total yards, including 242 on the ground.
“We just couldn’t stop May,” Hillbillies’ coach Harvey Arms said. “If we stopped him we could have probably won the game. We’re at the mid-way point of the season now and we have played a Class AAA team in Logan and four Class AA teams. We’re 1-4 but now we begin playing on our own level with four Class A teams and one more Class AA team in Chapmanville Regional. It all starts Friday with Fayetteville. We have to finish strong.”
The Miners struck first on their second possession of the game with May’s 62-yard touchdown run to make it 6-0 at the 6:13 mark of the opening quarter.
Mingo Central then took a Justin Cantrell punt for a touchdown as May raced for a 72-yard score to give MCHS a 12-0 lead with 3:53 to go.
The Billies then got their first points of the game with just 11 seconds left in the first quarter as a bad snap over Mingo Central punter Tyler Harrison’s head sailed into the end zone where Marcus Murrell was able to recover for a touchdown. The PAT was blocked but Man cut Mingo Central’s lead in half at 12-6.
The Miners then upped their lead to 18-6 with 10:58 to go until halftime as Chase Lester broke out of the pile on a fourth-and-inches play and sprinted for a 54-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion failed.
The Billies fought back and scored with 3:40 left on the second quarter clock with freshman quarterback John Thomas Keffer’s 42-yard touchdown pass to Tracy Jones, cutting Mingo Central’s lead to 18-12. Gage Harvey then snared the two-point conversion pass as Man trimmed the Miners’ lead to 18-14 at the half.
MCHS then went up 24-14 at the 2:51 mark of the third quarter as May broke two tackles and ran in for a 10-yard touchdown.
Man then tried to rally but was unable to move the ball to start the fourth quarter.
The Billies’ Cantrell later intercepted a Miners’ pass at their own 35-yard line, but once again, Mingo Central’s defense stood tall and Man had to punt.
Man then put the game away as he returned the ensuing punt for a 77-yard touchdown with 9:25 left in the game to make it 30-14.
The Billies were held to only four first downs for the game.
David Belcher had 30 yards rushing on 18 carries. Jones had three catches for 47 yards.
Lester added 72 yards on the ground on 10 carries for the Miners.