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'Dogs keep their focus on the field

September 08, 2007|By JOHN O'BRIEN

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - As recently as Wednesday, the Martinsburg football team had a realistic shot at a 3-0 start, but a loss Friday night against Turner Ashby (Va.) would've dropped the Bulldogs to 0-3.

Instead, Martinsburg ran over the visitors on the way to a 56-8 win just a day after it was forced to forfeit its first two wins of the year because of an ineligible player who transferred from another state. An appeal is pending, but Martinsburg, now 1-2, worried more about its business on the field.

"Either way, we're looking at it as we have to move forward," said quarterback Dustin Peters, who passed for more than 200 yards in the first half to help the Bulldogs grab a 35-0 lead. "If we get the wins back, great. But if not, we still need to win football games."

The appeal will be heard Oct. 11 in Charleston by the West Virginia Secondary Schools Athletics Commission Review Board. Martinsburg athletic director Greg Reed said he is hoping for a quick ruling.

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No lawyers are necessary, Reed said. He and principal Ken Pack will argue the matter, while coach Dave Walker might join.

"Right now, we can't worry about it," Walker said.

Nothing seemed to be on the minds of his players other than playing Friday night, as the Bulldogs' defense held the Knights to only one first down in the first half while outgaining them 357-62.

Peters lost a fumble on the opening possession of the game, but finished off a 13-play drive with a 3-yard touchdown run that was the game's first score. Martinsburg converted two fourth downs on the drive, including Peters' touchdown run.

On Martinsburg's next possession, Walker audibled to a fake punt on fourth-and-4. Punter James Jordan hit a wide open Brett Rogers, who turned and ran for a 59-yard touchdown with 54 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs put up three more touchdowns in the second quarter. Peters hit Jordan Mason deep down the middle of the field for a 39-yarder with 6:28 left, Rogers jumped his man's route and returned an interception 29 yards with 4:53 left and Jordan Fields scored from 2 yards out with 1:04 left for a 35-0 lead.

In the third, Mason returned an interception 49 yards with 10:12 remaining to extend the lead to 42-0. Will Manley made it 49-0 in the fourth with a 66-yard run, but the shutout was lost when the Knights' Colton Figgins tackled freshman quarterback Kameron Puller in the end zone with 3:44 left.

Kyle Craun added a 3-yard touchdown run for Turner Ashby (1-2), and Puller concluded the scoring with a 46-yard run with 1:10 remaining.

Fields rushed 11 times for 62 yards, and Peters finished 12 of 17 for 204 yards. His favorite targets were Thadeus Jones (five catches for 65 yards), Jazz Harrison (three for 74) and Mason (three for 66).

"I was just feeling it tonight," Peters said. "The receivers caught the ball, the line was blocking and I was just back there delivering the ball."

"I think our guys realize there is no room for error," Walker said. "Well, there's never any room for error in football, but especially now."

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