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Parkersburg, Martinsburg getting closer

November 28, 2001

Parkersburg, Martinsburg getting closer



HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> W.Va. Class AAA championship opponents used to be worlds apart.

By BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Geographically, Parkersburg and Martinsburg are the entire state of West Virginia apart.

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That distance seems minor compared to the mileage between the cities' two high school football teams. There was a time they were worlds apart.

Parkersburg, one of the largest school's in the state, has its cleat marks stamped all over the West Virginia prep football lore, including four trips in five years to the title game. Martinsburg, well, at least it had been listed on the map.

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It was the way the world revolved for what seemed like forever on the gridiron ... until this year, that is.

On Saturday, the Parkersburg and Martinsburg programs will be lining up exactly one football length apart at Wheeling Island Stadium. That's all the space that will between the two teams when it comes to deciding the 2001 Class AAA football championship.

"Parkersburg has a lot of tradition," Martinsburg coach David Walker said.

And the Big Reds won't let anyone to forget that tradition.

Parkersburg's school website states right up front it is the "School of Champions."

Once inside the site's link to the football program, a short film lists the years of the Big Reds eight football titles - the last coming in 1999 - ending with the following statement ... "Nothing but Winning Tradition."

Martinsburg is a little more modest about its successes. A perrenial power in the area, the Bulldogs have not commanded the state stage like they have this season. This will be their first appearance in the title game.

In fact, Martinsburg doesn't even have a website. It is the only Eastern Panhandle school without one.

So any messages the Bulldogs have, they will have to deliver them in person. It will give the western part of the state the chance to take notice of what Martinsburg has to offer and is trying to accomplish.

"Every step we've taken helps bring some recognition to this program," Martinsburg quarterback Joey Yurish said. "This will be big to the younger players because what we do will allow them to see what it takes to get to this level."

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