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Going to the 'Dogs

October 30, 2004|by CURT HORNBECKER/Staff Correspondent

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - It would be understandable if the Martinsburg football team had trouble calling off the dogs. They became rather attached over the years.

But after rolling up 35 first-half points, The Herald-Mail's top-ranked Bulldogs did just that, settling for a 42-0 thumping of Berkeley County rival Musselman in a CVAL game Friday night.

The win secures a first-round home game in the upcoming West Virginia state playoffs.

The No. 2 team in the Class AAA polls, Martinsburg amassed 302 yards of total offense while completely dominating the opening 24 minutes.

"We came out with the approach that we were going to take what they were giving us," said Martinsburg coach Dave Walker, "and we were able to take advantage of it."

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Bulldogs quarterback Nate Sowers wasted little time establishing the passing game, completing the first 11 passes he threw, including touchdowns of 40 and 43 yards.

"Musselman was playing farther off of us than we expected," said Sowers, "so we hit some quick hitches. And when they started playing us up tight we were able to beat them down the field. The receivers ran great routs, and the line gave me plenty of time."

Those quick hitches went for 10 and 19 yards on the game's first possession, setting up Sowers' 40-yard toss to D.J. Porter just 96 seconds into the game.

Meanwhile, the Applemen could do little offensively, going three-and-out in its first three possessions while gaining just seven yards.

"(The Bulldogs) were just a little bit bigger and a little bit stronger at the point of attack than we were," said Applemen coach Denny Price. "Martinsburg has a fine football team, and we have to get bigger and stronger."

On their second series of the game, Sowers and the Bulldogs (9-1) needed just two plays - a 9-yard pass to Ryan Miller and a 43-yard scoring strike to Jacquin Moore - for a 14-0 advantage.

Five running plays accounted for all 58 yards in the next Martinsburg drive, with D.J. Adams scoring from 16 yards out. Less than four minutes later, Sowers rushed in from the eight for another score in the first seven seconds of the second quarter.

Musselman's only turnover set up the Bulldogs' final score of the half, an eight-play, 53-yard march, with Adams carrying the final 12 yards.

Spurred by a 49-yard run by D.J. Stephenson, the Applemen mounted its only scoring threat late in the third period, reaching the Martinsburg 19. But Musselman lost four yards on its next three plays before Alan Kees' 40-yard field goal attempt fell short.

Sowers connected with Scotti Smith from 7 yards out for the game's final score.

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