By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
PEARISBURG, Va. —
Hard work is a trademark of the Giles Spartans football team and Ian Mann is no stranger to putting in the hard work necessary to be successful on the football field.
Mann carried the pigskin 13 times for 173 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Spartans to a 63-12 Three Rivers District win over Eastern Montgomery, earning him the honor of being the Bluefield Daily Telegraph/Pocahontas Coal Association Player of the Week.
Mann has been a consistent performer for coach Jeff Williams and the Spartans, leading Giles to an 8-1 record going into this week’s season finale against Radford.
“He’s a big part of our offense,” Williams said. He’s rushed for over 1,600 yards and has been really solid for us in every game. He seems like he’s getting better each week at the tailback position for us and has made some really fantastic runs for us this year.”
Mann has played football since he was in second grade, starting in the Pee Wee league in his hometown of Peterstown. He transferred across the border to Giles when he was in eighth grade and has been a member of the Spartans football team since his freshman year, making the 30-minute drive to Pearisburg each school day.
The 6-foot, 175 pound senior deflected praise on his accomplishments on the gridiron and gave kudos to his teammates.
“We have a really good line in front of us, so it’s easy to look pretty good back behind them,” Mann said. “We’ve got a strong team everywhere and we all stick together.”
Williams said Mann is a team leader, the silent type that lets his actions speak for themselves.
“The thing about him, he’s not a vocal leader, he doesn’t say a lot,” Williams pointed out. “He’s a quiet kid, but he leads by example and he leads in a way that our kids know, hey, if the ball is in his hands, he is going to do some good for us.”
Mann said the most memorable thing from this season are not the yards he has gained, or the honors bestowed upon him, but the success of the team.
“The highlight of my season is probably going to be if we win tomorrow (Friday), we will be district champions again,” Mann said. “Tht’s a big-time deal around here, that you’re the district champion and you’ve won something. If we win it (the district) again, we’ll be three-peat champs.”
Winning is the tradition at Giles, where the Spartans have won numerous state championships over the past 30-plus years. Mann is aware of that tradition and has advice for underclass teammates and future Giles Spartans.
“Work hard in every aspect, in the weight room, on the field, in practice, and stay tight with your team. You’ve got to be as good as your team is. Stick with the Giles tradition.”
Mann would like to play football or participate in track at the collegiate level, where he plans to become a Certified Registered Nursing Assistant. He has not finalized plans as to where he will continue his education.
Special Honorable Mention
Haysi (62-24 win at Phelps, Ky.): Jeffrey Bowen 9-322 rushing with six td.
Bland County (56-14 loss at Galax): Aaron Rose 92 yard kick return for td.
Bluefield (63-14 win at James Monroe): Johnny David 2 int returns for TDs, 1 td run; D.J. Stewart 3-95, 2 TDs.
Giles (63-12 win vs. Eastern Montgomery): Brett Whitlow 10-127, 3 td rushing; Garrett Lee 9-of-9 PATs; Zach Simmons interception and fumble recovery.
Graham (27-20 loss vs. Ft. Chiswell): Cody Hatfield 12-118, 2 td rushing; Spencer Sheets 15-151, 1 td, 2-5 passing for 64 yards
Grundy (55-21 loss vs. Honaker): Nick Travis 203 yards, 2 td rushing.
Honaker (55-21 win at Grundy): Ty Hall 11-13, 147 yards, 3 td; Payton Ball 102 yards rushing; Cody Lester 100 yards rushing.
Hurley (60-28 win at Rye Cove): Dillon Bailey 197 yards rushing and two td. The Rebels finished with 448 total yards.
Montcalm (69-12 win vs. Hannan): Jason Grose 9-85, 2 td rushing; Marcus Bailey 6-93, 1 td rushing.
Mount View (62-24 loss at Westside): Maurice Brown 15-133 rushing, 4 receptions for 62 yards, 195 yards total offense.
Narrows (36-18 loss vs. Grayson County): Rodney Perdue, 95 yards, 2 td passing); Trevor Hart 13-81 rushing.
River View (52-24 win over Lincoln County): Jordan Wilson, 21-163, 3 td rushing, 2-47 catch. Needs 30 yards for 1,000 rushing yards on season.
Summers County (42-20 win at Richwood): Dustin Smith 129 yards, 2 TDs rushing; Isaiah Brown 115 yards, 2 td rush.
Tazewell (27-10 win vs. Abingdon): Jacob McReynolds 160 yards, 2 td rush, one interception, 45-yard punting average.
Wyoming East (42-20 win vs. Independence): Aaron Griffith 118 yards, 1 td, passing, 121 yards, 1 td rushing.