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'Dogs try to keep the run going

November 29, 2003|by MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

Though the Martinsburg football team boasts a 12-0 record and the top seed in the West Virginia Class AAA playoffs, there seems to be a consensus when it comes to the topic of the Bulldogs' weakness.

"You can run on them."

The truth in that statement is all a matter of perspective.

A glance at the season statistics would seem to bear out the idea that Martinsburg will yield to its opponent's running backs, having given up an average of 128 yards per game on the ground.

To the Bulldogs, giving up any amount of yardage is secondary to the primary goal: Winning.

So far this season, no matter how many yards a team has gained on the ground, they haven't found a way to keep Martinsburg from reaching that bottom line.

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Cabell Midland (10-2) will be the latest team to try to run on and over Martinsburg when the Knights visit Cobourn Field today for a state semifinal game against the Bulldogs.

The winner will face Parkersburg South in the state final next Saturday at Wheeling Island Stadium. The Patriots beat Morgantown in the other Class AAA semifinal 14-13 Friday.

"We don't see it as a weakness," lineman Jeremiah Seeley said after last Saturday's 21-7 quarterfinal win over Huntington. "I hate to say this, but sometimes we played down to our opponents. Sometimes we took plays off. But when we really had to make a play, we somehow found a way to do it."

The evidence shows that in the two games Martinsburg allowed more than 200 rushing yards - vs. Hampshire (251 yards) and Musselman (203) - the Bulldogs gave up a grand total of seven points.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs held a potent Huntington offense to 150 yards rushing last week and just seven points, proving Seeley's point that Martinsburg will make the big plays when it needs them.

"We've got a bend-but-don't-break defense," Martinsburg coach David Walker said. "Some of that comes from not playing with the same intensity on every play, but they get the job done."

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