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Bulldogs shut down Applemen

October 29, 2005|By BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

INWOOD, W.Va. - At first glance, Cameron Shelton appeared to be giving a 'thumbs up' signal.

Martinsburg's quarterback had every right after leading the Bulldogs to a 40-0 victory over Musselman on Friday. But it was a painful celebration for Shelton, as proven by the bloodied bag of ice in his left hand.

Firm handshakes of congratulations were an adventure in discomfort, especially after the pounding Shelton took from Mussleman's defense while throwing for 219 yards and two touchdowns to help the Bulldogs finish off a 9-1 regular season.

"They did some unexpected things on defense," Shelton said. "They gave us the look like what Jefferson did against us. We came out and made some adjustments. We just wanted to come out and finish 9-1 and I did my best."

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Shelton's best was an escape act that Houdini might have been proud of. Musselman used constant pressure on the front line to force Shelton to throw a little sooner than designed. On many occasions, he was hit just after his release and ended up picking himself off the ground.

"The way they were playing, it opened up things down the field for us," Martinsburg coach David Walker said. "(Shelton) was able to hang in there and make the plays."

Walker added with a smile, "Maybe that will teach him to get rid of the ball."

Shelton had no choice. Musselman's defense contained Martinsburg's running game for the most part.

The Bulldogs lost starting tailback Josh Twyman to an injury at the end of the first half, but used a committee of runners to finish with 109 yards and three second-half touchdowns.

On another day, in another place, against another opponent, the Applemen could have won the game with the defensive performance, but they were a step short of making the big play most every time as they were shut out by Martinsburg for the third straight year.

"I'm just happy the kids came in and thought they could win," Musselman coach Denny Price said. "We pressured the quarterback well and we stopped Twyman. Shelton did well. He hung in there. Martinsburg can make plays."

The Bulldogs didn't make any plays until the first snap of the second quarter. Walker called timeout after the Bulldogs lined up for a 33-yard field goal attempt. Martinsburg came out of the break and Shelton found Jacquin Moore in the front corner of the end zone for a 16-yard scoring pass and a 6-0 lead.

"I just changed my mind," Walker said. "I said, 'We probably would miss the field goal anyway. Let's go for it.'"

It opened the door for the Bulldogs as Shelton was forced to do his best to prevent himself from becoming the doormat. His quick-release throws caught his receivers as they were still in their patterns. He hit on 11 of 21 passes - including a run of seven straight in the first quarter - with only one going for less than 10 yards.

"We told our secondary that we were going to put them on an island," Price said. "We had to do something to make things happen. That forced the secondary to play man and we didn't force them to do that all year. Shelton made some great passes and their receivers made some great catches."

Musselman made its mistake by turning the ball over four times and had a field goal blocked, which led directly to 27 Martinsburg points.

Twyman cashed in an interception by running a 14-yard draw for Martinsburg's second touchdown. Shelton engineered a two-minute drill and hit Q'Monte Matheny for a 12-yard scoring pass and a 21-0 halftime lead.

With Twyman sidelined in the second half, Travis Williams turned a Musselman fumble into a 19-yard touchdown run and the blocked field goal into a 5-yard run for a 33-0 lead by the end of three quarters.

The Bulldogs' final score came after Zach Newhouse returned an interception 64 yards to the Musselman 3 before getting the call on two runs to get the touchdown with 7:79 remaining.

Musselman moved the ball, accumulating 194 yards of offense and 11 first downs, until turning the ball over to end drives. Rusty Riner led the Applemen with 89 yards rushing on 20 carries.

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