No. 1 Martinsburg overwhelms Redskins 35-0
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — No. 1 Martinsburg got one of its toughest tests of the season when it took on No. 16 Hurricane in the first round of the Class AAA football playoffs Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs proved just how tough they are with a 35-0 win to move their state-record streak to 39 consecutive wins.
“Anytime you get a win, it feels good,” Martinsburg defensive coordinator Buddy Hesen said. “Playoff time, we preach to our kids that this is what we worked all season for is this time of year. I told them before the game, ‘After today, there’s eight (teams) left. Are we going to be one of those eight?’ Our kids stepped up and responded.
“This time of year, they’re all good or you wouldn’t qualify for playoffs. People say, ‘It’s watered down. It’s over half the AAA teams make it.’ I don’t buy into that. They play your Spring Valleys. They play Huntington. They’re playing good football teams, and they’re good enough to get into the playoffs. You can’t pay a whole lot of attention to what other people say. They were the best team on the bottom half of the bracket.”
Quarterback Grant Harman led the Bulldogs early with a pair of rushing touchdowns to put Martinsburg ahead 14-0.
The first touchdown capped a seven-play drive where Harman and Naieem Kearney carried the ball the whole way. Harman found the end zone from 3 yards out for the score.
Martinsburg’s defense forced a three-and-out, and the Bulldogs took over at the Redskin 20-yard line after a fumbled snap on the punt. Harman hit Chelo Teneval for a 3-yard gain, and from there, Kearney and Harman did the work. Harman capped the five-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. After a successful 2-point conversion run by Kearney, the Bulldogs led 14-0.
The Hurricane defense came up big early in the second quarter. The unit stalled a 10-play drive by Martinsburg at the Hurricane 1, stopping the Bulldogs inside the 5 twice.
After another three-and-out by the offense, the Hurricane defense held strong again following the punt. Martinsburg took over at the Hurricane 35 and Elijah Banks connected with Matt VanDuzer for 34 yards on the first play of the drive. Hurricane kept the Bulldogs out of the end zone, including making a pair of tackles for loss.
Nevertheless, the Bulldog offense, which relies heavily on the run, got back to work on the next possession. With the ball at the Martinsburg 46, Harman hit Teddy Marshall for 30 yards to get into Redskin territory, and then hooked up with Jarod Bowie for a 22-yard touchdown to go up 21-0.
Hurricane’s longest drive of the half came on the ensuing possession. It lasted 11 plays as the Redskins capitalized on a few Martinsburg penalties. The Redskins had the ball at midfield and set up for fourth and 5, when the Bulldogs were called for encroachment to give Hurricane the first down.
After a pair of runs by Christian Hill, Hurricane faced another fourth down and set up to punt. However, a penalty on the Bulldogs for roughing the kicker gave the Redskins a first down. An incomplete pass and sack on Nathan Roy ended the first half for Hurricane.
“We just couldn’t get anything going,” said Hurricane coach Jeremy Taylor. “They have too many horses over there. We’re just so unique on the offensive side of the ball that we knew we’d have trouble maintaining any type of sustained drive against them. They just loaded the box, and our passing game hasn’t necessarily been great this year. They took away Christian and we tried different things to move the ball, but in the end they were better than us.”
Martinsburg (11-0) moves into the next round while Hurricane’s season ended at 5-6.