'Dogs leave Cougars speechless

October 18, 2003|by BOB PARASILITI

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Jefferson coach Donnie Tucker said it all by electing to say nothing.

"I've got nothing to say," the Cougars first-year coach said. "We got beat by a superior football team. Until we get bigger, faster and stronger, then we could compete with teams like Martinsburg. We have a long way to go."

Tucker wasn't being terse, just benevolent and humble after Jefferson was pummeled 63-0 by Martinsburg on Friday at Coubourn Field. The Cougars were lucky the team bus was a lot closer than the road of improvement they must travel.

Martinsburg, the top team in The Herald-Mail and West Virginia Class AAA state polls, put on an offensive clinic that had to leave Tucker speechless. The stats stacked up against Jefferson (1-7).

  • Martinsburg quarterback Nate Sowers threw for four touchdowns - to give him 30 for the season - while competing 15 of 22 passes for 275 yards.

  • Receiver Brandon Barrett scored four times - two on passes, one on a reverse and another on a short punt return - for a tidy 112 all-purpose yards. His two TD receptions extended his state record to 63 career scoring catches.

  • Aaron Stokes caught five passes for 127 yards, including scoring receptions of 53 and 13 yards.

  • Brannon Hamilton carried the ball 13 times for 95 yards, including TD runs of 1 and 8 yards.

All totaled, Martinsburg (8-0) amassed 564 yards of offense and 22 first downs in just 55 plays.

"We moved the ball well," Martinsburg coach David Walker said, in understated fashion. "The guys did a good job and the receivers caught the ball. Our line did a great job and Nate has a good football mind and knows what he wants to do with the ball."

Jefferson gave the impression that Martinsburg would be in for a battle while trying to answer Sowers' opening-drive, 53-yard touchdown pass to Stokes.

The Cougars powered the ball to the right, using Will Grantham and Kevin Williams on runs. The Jefferson tandem moved the ball 51 yards on six rushes before Williams coughed up a fumble that Martinsburg recovered on its 22.

"Jefferson moved the ball well. They have some good athletes over there," Walker said. "When they turned it over, it seemed to take the air out of them."

Martinsburg made the Cougars pay for their mistake with a quick six-play, 78-yard drive, capped by a 4-yard bullet pass to Barrett in the front corner of the end zone for the 14-0 lead.

The Bulldogs led by 21 points at the end of the first quarter and 49 at the half.

In the meantime, Jefferson's offense began to sputter, starting with 91 yards rushing in the first quarter and 120 yards by the half, but finishing with 135 yards - and 187 yards of total offense - for the game.

After its fifth straight win over Jefferson, the Bulldogs turned their attention to next week's game with Fort Hill, Martinsburg's sternest test of the season.

"Fort Hill is a game that people have been looking forward to," Walker said. "We haven't been talking about it to the team, but they have a great team. We need to have a tough game and we'll get it next week."

The Herald-Mail Articles