WELCH- There is an old adage in football that goes “Speed Kills.”
Whether it’s the pace at which plays are run or the quickness of individual players, speed is both coveted and feared.
Using its speed, Mount View scored 33 second-half points and held off a late Man rally for a 45-21 victory over the Hillbillies in a battle of Class A ranked teams Tuesday night at Vic Nystrom Stadium.
“It’s hard to keep up with these guys when they turn on the jets,” Mount View head coach Maurice Gravely said.
The victory was the third in a row for the Golden Knights, ranked 10th in the latest West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission rankings released hours before kickoff.
“I told them that this could be a special season, but we got a long ways to go, we got some hills to climb and mountains to climb,” Gravely said. “If we keep playing like this and if the right team shows up then we can play with a lot of people.”
Trailing 14-6 with 34 seconds remaining in the first half and the ball on its own 15, Mount View traveled 85 yards in just four plays using a short passing game to get its backs and receivers in the open field.
The speedy athletes juked, jived, changed directions on a dime and made defender after defender miss. Jaylen Hall got things going with a 45-reception moving the ball to the Hillbilly 40. Tony Bailey followed with a 20-yard reception and Justin Haggerty finished the drive with a 20-yard reception as he sliced and diced through the Man defense for a 20-yard touchdown with no time remaining on the clock.
Following an unsuccessful two-point conversion try, Man took a 14-12 lead into the locker room at halftime despite tackling issues.
“We didn’t tackle well in the first half,” Man head coach Harvey Arms said. “They got a talented group of kids and they take advantage of their team speed.”
Man’s Justin Grimmett intercepted Mount View quarterback Ryan Long on the very first play of the second half to give the Hillbillies the ball at the Golden Knight 25.
Man would drive to the Mount View 10, but Israel Canterbury was intercepted in the end zone as Jason Haggerty outjumped Jeremiah Harless.
It was the first of four interceptions for the Mount View secondary as the Golden Knights intercepted three passes in the end zone. Hall had two picks and Jason Haggerty Thomas Bell had one pick each.
“The secondary prides themselves on what a secondary is to be like,” Gravely said. “They pride themselves on that and I told them that they had to dig deep.”
Man turned the ball over six times with four of those six turnovers occurring in the red zone.
“We just can’t finish the deal on these drives and that is killing us,” Arms said. “We moved the ball down the field in the second half but would throw an interception on third down or just couldn’t score.”
Following the first red zone interception, Mount View took the lead for good as Justin Haggerty took a short pass from Long and outraced the Man defense for a 60-yard touchdown.
Thomas Bell’s two-point conversion rush gave Mount View a 20-14 lead with 8:00 to play in the third quarter.
Following a second interception, Long hooked up with Justin Haggerty for a third touchdown, this one from 25 yards out. On the play it appeared that Man defensive back Harless was in great position to jump the route and take it for a 75-yard pick six. However, the ball deflected off his left hand and into the hands of Haggerty, who once again outraced the Hillbilly defense for his third score of the game.
“It looked like we had had some good plays made, but the ball bounces off our hand, they catch it and take it for a score,” Arms said. “That’s the way the game goes, but they just outplayed us and that is all there to say about it.”
The two-point conversion was unsuccessful as the Golden Knights led 26-14 with 5:35 to play in the third.
Man put together a nice drive as they attempted to draw closer, but for the third time in the quarter the Golden Knights intercepted a Hillbilly pass. This one by Hall, who intercepted Canterbury in the end zone and returned it to the 3.
Two plays later, Bell raced 90 yards to put Mount View up 32-14 with 11:46 to play in the fourth quarter. The run by Bell was the second longest run in Mount View history.
Man would not go away as Justin Grimmett scored from 30-yards out with 9:25 to play. Jaxon Tipton’s extra point cut the deficit to 32-21.
Man then executed an perfect onside kick as Tipton’s kick was recovered by Harless at the Mount View 48, but the drive would eventually stall as Man turned it over on downs at the Golden Knight 15.
The Golden Knights scored twice in a 0:13 span to put the game on ice. Tony Bailey ran for a 47-yard touchdown and KaJai Brown returned a fumble 39 yards for the final score of the contest.
Man held a 7-6 lead after one quarter of play as the Hillbillies got a touchdown run from Canterbuy with 6:34 to play in the opening quarter. Bailey raced in from 3 yards out for Mount View’s first touchdown with 2:51 to play.
Man extended its lead to 14-6 as Canterbury hooked up with Grimmett for a 16-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.
Man had 382 yards of total offense including 288 on the ground. Grimmett led the ground attack with 100 yards on nine carries and one touchdown. Jayden Brumfield added 97 yards on 17 attempts.
Canterbury completed 7-of-16 passes for 89 yards and one touchdown. Grimmett hauled in four passes for 44 yards and one score while Harless caught three balls for 39 yards.
The Hillbillies had difficulty hanging onto the football as they fumbled the ball five times, losing two of them on the night. Man was penalized eight times for 71 yards.
Man, ranked 16th in the latest ratings, drops to 3-3 with the loss and will return to action Oct. 15 at Class AA No. 3 Independence.
“I don’t know anything about them, nor have I seen them yet,” Arms said. “Everybody tells me they got some good speed, some outstanding backs and a good quarterback.”
Man’s chances at the playoffs took a serious blow Tuesday night, however, with four games left to play against three Class AA opponents and one Class A opponent, the Hillbillies could play their way back into the postseason picture.
“We can’t worry about the playoffs. We have to worry about trying to win one game at a time,” Arms said. “We got four games left and they are all tough competition for us so it’s one game at a time for us.”
Mount View rolled up 471 yards of total offense with 251 yards through the air and 220 yards on the ground. Bell rushed for 135 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown while Long completed 14-of-20 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns. Justin Haggerty hauled in seven receptions for 139 yards and three touchdowns.
The Golden Knights improved to 4-1 on the year and took a big step in their quest for a postseason berth.
“If your goal is to be playing in November then you have to beat guys like this,” Gravely said. “I felt like this game was the momentum builder that would push us onto the next game.”
Mount View will have a short turnaround as they travel to Van Friday night. It will be the third game in seven days for the Golden Knights.
“We got a tough Van team up next and it doesn’t get any easier for us,” Gravely said. “We just got to keep picking cherries and hope that we can make the right cherry pie.”
“We will practice for a couple of days and we will be ready for Friday,” Gravely said. “It doesn’t matter if we play tomorrow, we have to be ready.”
Hillbillies-Golden Knights Stats
Man 7 7 0 7- 21
MV 6 6 14 19- 45
M- Canterbury 1 run (Tipton kick), 6:34
MV- Bailey 3 run (run failed), 2:51
M- Grimmett 16 pass from Canterbury (Tipton kick), 11:17
MV- Haggerty 20 pass from Long (pass failed), 0:00
MV- Haggerty 60 pass from Long (Bell run), 8:00
MV- Haggerty 25 pass from Long (run failed), 5:35
MV- Bell 90 run (run failed), 11:46
M- Grimmett 30 run (Tipton kick), 9:52
MV- Bailey 47 run (Huff kick), 2:32
MV- Brown 39 fumble return (kick failed), 2:19
Man Mount View
First Downs 20 18
Total Yards 382 471
Rushes-yards 52-288 19-220
Passing 94 251
Comp-Att-Int 8-21-4 14-20-1
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-9 2-12
Punts 1-45.0 1-41.0
Fumbles-Lost 5-2 1-1
Penalties-Yards 8-71 5-35
Time of Possession 32:16 15:16
RUSHING_Man Brumfield 17-97, Adams 12-43, Grimmett 9-100, Harless 9-48, Canterbury 3-(minus 1), Brown 2-1, Mount View, Bell 11-135, Bailey 3-59, Haggerty 3-37, Long 1-(minus 11) .
PASSING_Man, Canterbury 7-16-3 89, Harless 1-5-1 5. Mount View, Long 14-20-1 135.
RECEIVING_Man, Grimmett 4-44, Harless 3-39, Adams 1-11, Mount View, Haggerty 7-139, Bailey 4-49, Hall 2-45, Bell 1-18.
MISSED FIELD GOAL_None.