Man Middle Tops Tigers for Black Diamond Title
By PAUL ADKINS, Sports Editor
CHAPMANVILLE n Tootie Carter knew the 2007 season would be a challenging one for his Man Middle School football team.
Only two players were back from last year’s 8-0-1 squad which won the Logan County championship and the Black Diamond Conference title.
Then in the season opener, the Pioneers were upset 19-6 by Van.
It looked like it could be a long season.
Man, though, put it together, steadily improved all year and saw the reward on Saturday afternoon n a 27-22 victory over previously unbeaten Chapmanville at Chapmanville’s Tiger Stadium in the Black Diamond Conference championship game.
The win over the Tigers avenged an earlier 28-21 loss at home to Chapmanville n the only other defeat suffered by the Pioneers all season.
Man trailed Chapmanville by nine points twice but rallied late.
The Pioneers (7-2) were down 22-19 and had the ball first-and-10 on its own 21-yard line with just 2:37 left in the ballgame.
Man had two go 79 yards to win the game or at least get into field goal position to possibly tie the game up.
There would be no field goals.
The Pioneers drove all the way down for the win in dramatic fashion.
Man had a third-and-goal at the Chapmanville 4-yard line with 9.5 ticks to go after quarterback Shane Browning spiked the ball to stop the clock.
Browning then cashed in, rolling left and hitting a diving Tommy Belcher in the corner of the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown with 4.3 seconds left. Jimmy Duba then ran in the two-point conversion to put the Pioneers on top 27-22.
Man’s game-winning touchdown was set up three plays earlier when Mike Vitrals fired a 30-yard, halfback pass to a leaping Belcher at the Chapmanville 7.
After a 3-yard run by Browning, the Man quarterback was forced to spike the ball on the next play as the Pioneers were out of timeouts.
The drive began with a 24-yard completion from Browning to Belcher.
Belcher ended up with three catches for 58 yards on the game-winning drive alone.
After Belcher’s touchdown, Man elected to go for an on-side kick on the ensuing kickoff to avoid a possible long return.
Chapmanville recovered the ball at the Man 49 and only had time enough for one more play.
The Tigers’ Tyler Cox tossed a bomb which was caught by Dustin Smith for a 29-yard gainer to the Pioneer 20. He was tackled, however, and the clock expired, icing the win for Man.
Coach Carter said it was a sweet win for his Pioneers. In the last two years, Carter has led Man Middle to a 15-2-1 mark and two Black Diamond Conference championships.
“It feels great for me and the kids,” said Carter, a legendary area football coach who led Man High School to three Class AA state championship games and 200 wins in his tenure which spanned 1969-98. “We lost just about our whole team from last year and these kids have improved so much. You saw today that they are a pretty good football team.”
After the season-opening defeat to Van, Man bounced back in Week 2 with a 38-14 rout over Gilbert.
The Pioneers then began to come into their own.
“They’ve come a long way,” Carter said. “I’m so proud of them because some of them don’t have that much experience. We’ve only got two kids back from last year’s team n an offensive guard and a defensive back. We lost that first game but we’ve come a long way. I’m tickled to death for them.”
Man had advanced to the title game with last week’s 13-0 semifinal victory over Madison.
Chapmanville moved on with a 46-6 victory over Sherman.
The Tigers, coached by P.D. Clemens, were hoping to close out the season unbeaten with the conference title.
Chapmanville had already wrapped up the Logan County title after beating Logan Middle School, 44-12, then knocking off Man on Sept. 13.
The Pioneers had to contend with top Tiger running back Dylan Wiley, who rolled up 275 yards rushing on 15 carries and scored five touchdowns in the last meeting between the two teams.
This time, the Pioneers were able to hold down Wiley somewhat as he had 22 carries for 132 yards and three TDs.
“I was hoping that we could keep Wiley down. We did a little bit but they kept the ball away from us in the second quarter,” Carter said.
Man got on the scoreboard first as Jimmy Duba scored on a 5-yard touchdown run with 3:02 left in the first quarter. Josh Booth, a 6-foot-4 starting lineman, kicked the PAT to make it 7-0 Man Middle.
Chapmanville bounced back with 9.9 ticks to go as Wiley ran in from 2 yards out. He tacked on the two-point conversion run from the single wing formation to put CMS ahead 8-7.
Then with 31.2 seconds left until halftime, Wiley struck again with a 5-yard TD run. Wiley then again ran in the two-point conversion from the single wing to put the Tigers ahead 16-7 at the half.
The Pioneers pulled to within 16-13 with 3:10 remaining in the third quarter after Duba ran in from 3 yards out. Booth’s PAT was blocked by John Toler.
Then with 58.9 seconds in the third quarter, Wiley scored on a 4-yard touchdown run n his third of the game n to put the Tigers ahead 22-13. Tyler Cox attempted to run in the conversion from the single wing but was drilled by Thomas Blair a yard short of the goal line.
Man then scored on the last play of the third quarter as Browning dumped off a screen pass to Josh Cline, who then raced 69 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion pass play failed, leaving the score at 22-19 in favor of Chapmanville.
Man Middle School was then able to score the game winner in the last ticks of the ballgame.
Cox added 101 yards rushing on 14 carries for CMS, which closed out the season 8-1.
Austin Watts led the Chapmanville defense with six tackles.
Dougie Mullins had five tackles and three assists, while Mark Lawson had five stops and two assists.
Dustin Smith had four solos, one assist and one interception. Toler and Thomas Belcher had four tackles and one assist each.
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