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Bulldogs kick, tackle and score at Noon time

November 08, 2007|By JOHN O'BRIEN / Staff Correspondent

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - For the Martinsburg football team, it's been Noon time all the time this year.

The sun rarely sets on James Jordan's playing time. A defensive end/kicker/punter who was always too big to run the ball, Jordan - a junior nicknamed "Noon" - is now making an impact at fullback for the No. 11 Bulldogs (7-3), who travel to No. 6 Bridgeport on Friday night for the first round of the West Virginia Class AAA playoffs.

Once he was a self-proclaimed "short little fat dude," but Jordan is now one of Martinsburg's most important players - and certainly its most versatile.

"As a sophomore, I know he worked pretty hard," Bulldogs coach David Walker said. "He's always been a physical kid. Kicking is just something he fooled around with.

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"He really worked hard over the summer and put the time into it, and it's really paid off for him."

Jordan, a 6-foot, 225-pounder who was not allowed to carry the ball in youth leagues because of his size, is the Bulldogs' top scorer with 86 points. He's rushed for seven touchdowns and booted six field goals and 26 extra points. He's also the third-leading rusher with 395 yards on 72 carries, a healthy 5.5 yards-per-carry average.

"I love gashing teams," he said. "That's what we call it."

In fact, sometimes Jordan becomes the focal point of the offense, ahead of leading rusher Ryan Rowland and dual-threat quarterback Dustin Peters. It happens when the Bulldogs, who went 9-1 this year but forfeited two wins because of an ineligible player, change out of their four-wide receiver shotgun set and into the wing-T.

It happened against Calvin Coolidge, D.C., then a 5-1 team with an offense Walker wanted to keep off the field. So he switched to his larger personnel, and Jordan ripped through Coolidge for 93 yards on 17 carries, scoring his team's first and last touchdowns in a 37-15 victory. In between, he kicked a 30-yard field goal.

Against Urbana, he kicked two field goals and an extra point in a 13-6 win. Against Friendship Collegiate, he rushed for 91 yards on 18 carries, accounting for all of Martinsburg's points with three rushing touchdowns and three extra points in a 21-14 win.

As a punter, he's kicked 18 times for a 30.6 average. He's thrown for a 59-yard touchdown on a fake punt and run 38 yards after a bad snap botched an attempt.

Don't those legs ever get tired?

"Sometimes," he said, "but being tired is all mental."

He did, however, concede that maybe a few missed kicks were the result of tired legs.

"I'll just have to hit the weights harder," he said.

Often his father chats with others around the state and is asked why Jordan wasn't pulled with the rest of the starters after the Bulldogs built a big lead.

"He says, 'My son doesn't leave the game,'" Jordan said.

He plays most at defensive end, and he ranks fourth on the team in tackles, recording 28 solo, 15 assisted, 11 for loss and 2.5 sacks.

"A lot of teams get a lot of guys who are specialists, they just kick," Walker said. "He happens to be a pretty good football player."

A pretty good football player with a pretty unusual nickname. Jordan, named after his father, said he was branded when a cousin who was 2 years old at the time could not pronounce "Junior."

"They called me 'Nooner,'" Jordan said.

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