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Bulldogs hang tough to beat Fort Hill

October 21, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Fort Hill threw the house at Martinsburg and the No. 1 Bulldogs showed their mettle on the way to a 26-14 victory, knocking the Sentinels from the ranks of the unbeaten on Friday night.

In taking over first place in the Cumberland Valley Athletic League, Martinsburg (7-1, 2-0) combined a bend-but-not-break defense with big individual plays to take down the Sentinels (6-1, 3-1).

Fort Hill ran 65 plays and had 370 total yards compared to 46 plays and 276 yards for the Bulldogs.

"We were tired, but we hung in there and made the plays," said Marcus Scott, whose two big kickoff returns each plucked momentum away from the Sentinels.

After Fort Hill took a 7-0 lead at the outset of the second quarter on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Rich Shook to Jesse Robinson - capping a 15-play, 57-yard drive that consumed eight minutes - Scott went to work.

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From the 13, Scott picked up the pigskin after two bounces, broke to the left, found an opening back up the middle and raced 87 yards to paydirt. Cameron Shelton's PAT knotted the score, 7-7.

"I think watching the ball bounce let me view the field ahead of me," said Scott. "I had some great blocks and all of a sudden, the only guy left was the kicker and he only got a swipe at me."

Martinsburg's defense forced a three-and-out, and the Bulldogs marched 54 yards in eight plays, with Josh Twyman bolting up the middle for a 25-yard score.

Despite being outgained 180-83 in total yards in the first half, Martinsburg led, 13-7. Fort Hill kicker Levi Mallow missed field goals of 28 and 48 yards in the half.

"(Fort Hill) outplayed us in the first half," said Martinsburg coach Dave Walker. "We didn't tackle well. They were in range to score with field goals but we were fortunate."

The Sentinels took the second-half kickoff and marched to the Martinsburg 20 before their drive stalled and Mallow missed another field goal, this one from 38 yards.

However, the Bulldogs coughed up the football on a pitchout from quarterback Dustin Peters to Q'Monte Matheny. But two plays later, Martinsburg's defense separated Scott Rice from the football and Bryce Hobbs recovered.

The Martinsburg passing game started to click. Dustin Peters completed passes to Matheny covering 14 and 19 yards, to Patrick O'Shea for 14 yards and to Xavier Peters for 18 yards, all setting up Twyman's 2-yard score for a 19-7 lead.

Fort Hill answered on a 6-yard run by Drew Yurko to make it 19-14, but again, Scott did his thing with a 46-yard kickoff return to the Sentinels 40. After a 9-yard run by Twyman and a 27-yard completion to O'Shea, Dustin Peters rolled right from the 4 to score and Shelton's kick made it 26-14. Peters completed five passes in 11 attempts.

Xavier Peters' nifty over-the-shoulder interception with just over 4 minutes remaining helped doom the Sentinels, who threw the football an unusual 20 times, completing nine.

"We got some great field position in the second half and that was a key," said Walker.

Twyman surpassed the 100-yard mark for the eighth straight time this year, rushing for 155 yards on 21 carries. Yurko had 111 yards on 16 carries for Fort Hill. Martinsburg bottled up Scott Rice, holding the 235-pound fullback to 67 yards on 18 carries.

The game was the 70th between the schools. Fort Hill holds a 46-21-3 advantage, but Martinsburg has claimed the last six meetings.

With Fort Hill leaving the CVAL following this school year, the two schools do not have a contract at this time to continue their series.

"It's been in our favor the past few years, but overall, Fort Hill has been a good rivalry and I hope we play again," said Walker.

Fort Hill will be joining the new Appalachian Mountain Athletic Conference next school season.

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