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Bulldogs have one to go

November 28, 2001

Bulldogs have one to go



By GREG MILLER / Staff Correspondent


Holding a 12-point lead early in the fourth quarter on Friday night in the W.Va. Class AAA football semifinals, senior quarterback Joey Yurish and the Martinsburg High School offense faced third-and-4 from the Morgantown 15-yard line.

The Bulldogs knew it was their chance to put away the defending state champs and punch their own ticket to the Super Six.

Yurish dropped back, only to see a wave of red jerseys. He spun out of one tackle, eluded two more by back-pedaling, then lofted a pass to the back of the end zone.

Teammate Jesse Keyser was the only one there. He made the catch for the team's final score in a 19-8 victory, and the Bulldogs began making their plans for the state championship game this weekend.

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"Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good," said Martinsburg head coach Dave Walker.

They may have benefited from some luck on that play, the Bulldogs (12-1) didn't rely on luck to get them to Wheeling. The No. 4 seed, the Bulldogs have been dominant the entire postseason, beating Philip Barbour (47-6), Parkersburg South (43-21) and top-seeded Morgantown.

Now all that separates Martinsburg from its first state title is No. 6-seeded Parkersburg (11-2).

Martinsburg is making its first state title game appearance, but the opponent is no stranger to the Super Six. Parkersburg, making its 12th state title game appearance, won the 1999 championship and finished as runner-up last season.

The biggest reason for the Big Reds' run to the final has been the play of all-state quarterback Marc Kimes. Kimes is a favorite for the Kennedy Award, given to the state's top player. In Saturday's 31-24 semifinal win over Riverside, Kimes ran for two touchdowns, threw for another, kicked a 44-yard field goal and grabbed a game-clinching interception late in the fourth quarter.

All the hype surrounding Kimes has the Bulldogs' signal-caller even more ready for Saturday afternoon.

"I wanted to play Parkersburg," said Yurish. "Everyone's so high on Kimes, like they were on Shane (Fogerty). This is a dream come true and I just want to finish it."

If Yurish continues his strong play behind center, the Bulldogs have a great shot to make their dream of a state title a reality.

Yurish threw for 145 yards and two scores against Morgantown to push his touchdown total to 23 on the year, but it was the running game that paved the way to Wheeling for the Bulldogs.

Justin Walther, Steve Weatherholtz and Jesse Keyser combined for 209 yards rushing against a Morgantown defense programmed to stop the run.

"Our line did a great job," said Walther, who finished with 93 yards and a touchdown. "We just tucked our heads and went behind them. They came through for us again."

"My backs, I feel, are the best in the state," said Yurish. "As long as they keep playing like that and the line keeps blocking like they did, we'll be alright."

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