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It's always 'Noon' somewhere for 'Dogs

September 05, 2008|By Bob Parasiliti

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - James Jordan got his nickname by accident.

But when Jordan is playing for the Martinsburg football team, there is nothing accidental about it.

The Bulldogs will be looking for the clock to strike 12 when "Noon" is on the field. On the field might be the only place to find Jordan, considering he is a fullback, defensive end and placekicker for Martinsburg.

"When it comes to gametime, I want to be on the field," Jordan said. "I understand the pressure is on my shoulders. It will be tough since we lost a lot of guys."

Jordan has a little experience with having games on his shoulder. Last September, he scored all three touchdowns and kicked a field goal and three extra points for all of Martinsburg's scoring in a 24-21 win over Friendship Collegiate.

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"It was luck," Jordan said. "We had plenty of plays where someone else should have scored. We had some tough breaks."

But if Jordan wouldn't have scored, it was a good bet that he would have help set it up, like he has to do this year for the Bulldogs.

"He is a big strong kid that runs hard," said Martinsburg coach David Walker. "He's the most physical kid on the team and a very valuable player. The thing about him is that he gets all the tough yards and is a great blocker. He's always around the ball defensively and he kicks."

That all doesn't happen by accident, like his "Noon" nickname.

"I was named after my father and I was getting called 'Junior,'" he said. "One of my cousins couldn't say that and called me 'Nooner' and that stuck."

So have some of the extra talents - like blocking and kicking - he has picked up along he way. Jordan transferred from South Hagerstown to Martinsburg and it has all come in handy.

"I just picked up kicking in the seventh grade," Jordan said. "I figured I might get good at it so I started working to get flexible."

While his versatility is a plus, Walker is concerned that all the different duties will keep Jordan on the field the entire game. Jordan's health is a huge key to Martinsburg's success, for nothing more than the physical presence the 6-foot, 234-pound senior brings.

"Last year, his kicking was the biggest thing for us," Walker said. "This year, we will be using him more on offense. You don't center the offense around him, but he is vital. We have a lot of talented kids around him and he will be in the role of lead blocker. He is the best we've had in the 10 years I've been here. We've not had a lot of kids like him with his size and speed to give us a physical runner."

Jordan likes the idea of being a "physical runner."

"I love running the ball," Jordan said. "I love to run at people. I guess it started back in Pee Wee league. My dad used to tell me, 'It doesn't matter how big he is, he hurts, too.' I realize I'm not fast enough, so I have to man up and take chances."

If last year's Friendship game was any indication, Noon Jordan will be manning up again for the Bulldogs.

"The Friendship game last year ... that was my best moment in sports," he said. "The team was all pumped up when I was able to get in and score those points. But this year, we have to keep focused. We have to start fresh and go after it.

"I have to be able to reach down deep and not go down when I'm running or blocking. I know I have to go out there and make (my teammates) look good."

X's and O's



Offense

The game's the same. The director will be different.

Martinsburg will remain in its spread attack, but will be making adjustments to fill holes left by graduation.

The first spot will be at quarterback, where the Bulldogs will need to replace Dustin Peters, who took Martinsburg to the state playoffs three times. Candidates for the job are sophomore Kameron Puller and senior Brett Rogers, with the early nod going to Puller.

The running game will be grounded behind James "Noon" Jordan, who will be Martinsburg's power runner and lead blocker. He will lead the way for Ryan Rowland, who led the Bulldogs with 849 yards rushing last year.

Martinsburg lost four senior recievers and will be refilling the stable with David Hammond, Derek Walker, John Arndt, Chris Burg and the odd quarterback out.

The line is deep with Mike Nolent and L.J. Hockenberry at the tackles, Steve Johnson and Blake DeBord at guards and Ryan Shuyler at center.

Defense

Martinsburg's odd stack alignment has experience in the secondary and depth on the line.

At linebacker, the Bulldogs have three starters returning, but need five to play their style.Jordan Fields, DeBord and Rogers return with Burg, Jake Evens and Zach Butler all seeing time.

In the backfield, Will Manley and Arndt will check in at the defensive back slots while Brandon Bishop will be a new starter with Hammond and Puller helping out.

On the line, Martinsburg has nine players to choose from, starting with Jordan at end along with Hockenberry and Leonard Dixon. Inside, Darnell Miller, Jordan Domenico, Tim Potts, Ryan Potts (who doubles as a tight end) and Darren Arndt all lend a hand.

Special Teams

The main kicker is Jordan, who placekicks and punts, but soccer player Drew Dawson could give Jordan some rest. Fields is the long snapper. Bishop and Rogers will return kicks.

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