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Parkersburg owns trenches to turn back Bulldogs

December 03, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

WHEELING, W.Va. - It all came down to a matter of ownership.

"We didn't play Martinsburg football," said Bulldogs quarterback Dustin Peters.

"We got the confidence that we could play Big Reds football today," said Parkersburg coach Bernie Buttrey.

It went straight to the bottom line from there.

Parkersburg controlled everything from the first snap and carried it through to the definitive end in a 34-6 shellacking of the Bulldogs on Saturday at Wheeling Island Stadium, giving the Big Reds their third state title in eight years.

Parkersburg (14-0) was near picture perfect while Martinsburg seemed overexposed and out of focus. The Big Reds stopped the Bulldogs' running game, holding Martinsburg (12-2) to 77 yards rushing in 29 tries.

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In turn, Matt Lindamood ran 17 times for 170 yards and touchdowns of 56, 13 and 4 yards to set the tone for the Big Reds. Parkersburg got all but two of its 354 yards of offense on the ground.

"We were beat by a better team," conceded Martinsburg coach David Walker, whose Bulldogs lost in the state final for the fourth time in six seasons.

"They were more physical than us," Walker said. "Anytime you get beat in the trenches, it's going to make for a tough night."

Parkersburg came out and made its statement on Martinsburg's first play.

Peters gave the ball to Josh Twyman on an inside handoff. Twyman headed to the line but was forced into a couple of shuffle steps while looking for the hole.

There was no hole ... just a step back and a 2-yard loss. Twyman was limited to 33 yards on 13 carries.

"That was the theme of the whole day," Walker said. "They just beat us physically up front."

It started the landslide for the Big Reds.

"That first series, we got them in a three-and-out," Butterey said. "We get the ball and we go right down and score. When we go into the game, you don't know what to expect, but that proved we could play against them. It gave us confidence."

Then it all became systematic for the Big Reds as Martinsburg didn't function, falling behind 10-0 after the first quarter and 24-0 at the half.

"Every play we ran, they were there," Peters said. "They did a good job scouting us. We were trying to run the ball and they stuffed us. They were the best team, but if we executed, it could have been a little different. We missed blocks, we didn't tackle well and I didn't throw the ball well."

First, Parkersburg owned the defensive line of scrimmage, putting more defenders at the point of attack than the Bulldogs could block. Then, the Big Reds offense sprung holes for the running backs, who took advantage of Martinsburg's poor tackling to break off extra yards and bounce away for touchdowns.

"We made way too many mistakes," Walker said. "We had bad snaps. ... I don't know how many motion penalties we had. You can't win when you're making those mistakes."

A lot of that was because of "Big Reds football." Parkersburg forced Martinsburg to stray away from their strong points.

"We were in the office until midnight on Sunday breaking down film," Butterey said. "Mike Getty runs our defense and does a great job breaking down films. When he gets it down, it's almost like we have their playbook.

"We start by trying to take away the run. Martinsburg has a great passing game, but they want to run the ball. We have given up 200 yards passing before, but no one has scored on us."

Martinsburg tried everything - passing, fourth-down plays and even an onside kick to start the second half, resulting in its only score - to get back into the game.

"We weren't able to run the ball effectively," Walker said. "We tried passing the ball and did what we did to have a shot. It didn't work out."

The Bulldogs couldn't find the big play to change their fortunes.

"So many things in a football game can go wrong," said Peters, who threw three interceptions. "We didn't execute. All the mistakes add up."

The final sum was Big Reds - and not Martinsburg - football.

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