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Bulldogs show same old tricks

West Virginia's preseason No.1 opens with win over Hedgesville

West Virginia's preseason No.1 opens with win over Hedgesville

August 28, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The star veteran met expectations, the rookie newcomer exceeded them and the end result shouldn't have come as a real surprise to anyone.

Martinsburg, ranked No. 1 in the West Virginia Class AAA preseason state football poll, breezed to a 41-7 Cumberland Valley Athletic League win over Hedgesville in the season opener for each team Friday night at Cobourn Field.

Bulldogs senior quarterback Nate Sowers picked up where he left off from his 2003 All-State campaign, completing 15 of 27 passes for 199 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. He also ran for 35 yards and another score.

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"We had some first-game jitters, but we clicked as well as we should have, offensively and defensively," Sowers said.

Sophomore running back Marcus Scott, a transfer from North Hagerstown, led Martinsburg's 279-yard ground attack. He rushed for a game-high 127 yards on 12 carries, including a 7-yard TD run late in the second quarter to give the Bulldogs a 34-7 halftime lead.

"I was surprised about that. As a matter of fact, I was thrilled with that performance," Scott said. "It was a great game. I felt strong running behind the line."

Martinsburg dominated the first half, outgaining Hedgesville 309-53 in total offensive yards, while picking up 16 first downs and holding the Eagles to two.

"We never got a chance to get in the flow or get any momentum going," Hedgesville coach Dave Lopez said. "They're a pretty good team. They're preseason No. 1 for a reason."

Please turn to 'DOGS, B2

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In fact, Martinsburg scored three touchdowns before Hedgesville's offense took the field for the first time with 2:46 left in the first quarter.

But it wasn't quite as bad as it sounds. After Sowers capped the game's opening series with a 3-yard TD run, Hedgesville's Tyler Hockman returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards to even the score at 7-7.

"OK, we got the kickoff return," Lopez said. "But they came right back and scored."

Martinsburg needed only four plays to take the lead for good. Junior fullback D.J. Adams muscled his way into the end zone from 3 yards out to make it 14-7, as the teams combined for three touchdowns in a span of 1 minute, 25 seconds.

After that, there was no combining, as Martinsburg rolled.

The Bulldogs immediately got the ball back when Jacquin Moore recovered Jeremiah Johnson's onside kick at the Hedgesville 45.

"That ended up being a real big play in the game," Martinsburg coach David Walker said.

Ten plays later, Sowers connected with Aaron Stokes for a 6-yard TD pass with 2:51 left in the opening period.

A 2-yard TD run by sophomore back Josh Twyman made it 28-7 early in the second quarter, and Scott's 7-yard run completed the first-half scoring.

"We had some inexperienced guys taking the field for the first time that you're not sure how they're going to react in the first game in front of that crowd," Walker said. "But they came to play. When you win 41-7, you can't have many complaints."

Adams scored from 1-yard out early in the third quarter to make it 41-7.

Sowers left the game midway through the third quarter due to leg cramps, and while Walker said he could have returned, he didn't. There was no need. By the fourth quarter, most of the Bulldogs' starters were on the bench.

Ryan Miller caught five passes for 65 yards, Stokes caught four for 64 and D.J. Porter and Zach Newhouse each had an interception for Martinsburg.

Richard Lane rushed for a team-high 58 yards on 16 carries for Hedgesville, while quarterbacks Michael Lopez and Derek Young combined to go 6 of 13 passing for 85 yards.

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