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Bulldogs' linemen get to show their stuff

October 13, 2007|By JOHN O'BRIEN

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. ? Not that he has any major problem with coach David Walker's four-wide receiver offense, but Martinsburg right tackle Will Nolet would like to have more nights like the one his team enjoyed Friday.

Martinsburg basically scrapped its shotgun spread system after the first drive and switched to the wing-T, allowing Nolet and his linemates a chance to show their stuff in a 37-15 win over Calvin Coolidge (D.C.).

"The plays, you just line up and smash them in the mouth," said Nolet after he helped four Bulldogs rushers amass 240 yards, not counting a 16-yard loss on a botched punt attempt in the second quarter.

"The defense they play, we knew we'd do good tonight."

A week after not running a single play out of the wing-T, the Bulldogs' line looked anything but nervous to switch.

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"We got up there and went full speed ahead," said Nolet, a 6-foot-2, 290-pound senior. "We knew what we were doing, and we communicated well."

Walker said his focus was winning the time-of-possession battle and keeping the athletes that Coolidge (5-2) features on offense off the field. One of those players, Derrell Person, gave Martinsburg fits, catching four passes for 101 yards and a touchdown.

"I saw the film, I knew they could score any time," Walker said. "Our gameplan was to run the ball and keep their offense off the field. They have a lot of athletes that we wanted on the sideline. The guys did a great job up front."

Proof of that fact was the time of possession, which Martinsburg won by nearly eight minutes ? 27:57 to 20:03. The line ? also featuring Mike Nolet, Mike Hammond, Ryan Shuyler, Steve Johnson and Jesse Jean ? helped deliver 16 first downs, 12 on the ground.

Fullback James Jordan carried 17 times for 93 yards and two touchdowns, and halfback Ryan Rowland totaled 80 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Dual threat quarterback Dustin Peters threw only eight times, completing four for 55 yards ? all to Jordan Mason. Peters also rushed 15 times for 38 yards and a score.

The spread offense, however, looked just fine on the first drive, a 12-play journey covering 70 yards in 4:39. Once Martinsburg (5-2) found itself at the 1-yard line, it brought in its power set, and Jordan scored on the next play.

After forcing a three-and-out, the Bulldogs put together an even longer drive out of the wing-T. They went 74 yards in 14 plays and 7:05, culminating with Peters' 1-yard quarterback sneak that made it 13-0. The key play in the drive came on fourth-and-8 from the Coolidge 28, when the shotgun spread made its one appearance. Peters connected with Mason for 22 yards.

Coolidge scored on a fourth-down pass to Person, who broke a few tackles and ran 50 yards for a touchdown, making it 13-7 with 3:27 left in the second half.

Jordan kicked a 30-yard field goal 17 seconds before halftime after Mason intercepted Jubar Knight at the Bulldogs' 5 and returned it to the Colts' 16.

After halftime, Martinsburg went 72 yards on 10 plays, ending with Rowland's 10-yard run with 6:03 left in the third to make it 24-7.

Knight hit Martize Barr for a 13-yard touchdown, but the Bulldogs again put together a long drive afterwards. After 12 plays earned 84 yards, Jordan Fields scored from 5 yards out with 9:30 left in the game. Jordan added a 25-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-2 later in the fourth quarter.

To Walker, it looked a little like the first team he took to a state championship six years ago ? a team that relied on two running backs and ran mostly out of the wing-T. Nate Sowers, now at West Virginia University, took over at quarterback the next year and the team switched to the shotgun spread nearly exclusively.

"(The offensive line) practices hard and does a good job," Walker said. "At practice, we throw a lot at them."

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