'Dogs roll early, hold on late

October 18, 2008|By JOHN O'BRIEN

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The second half of No. 2 Martinsburg's game against Friendship Collegiate Academy (D.C.) on Friday night was just as surprising -- and much more nerve-racking -- as the first for Bulldogs coach David Walker.

The Bulldogs (5-2) put up 28 points in the first half -- 21 in the first quarter -- then barely held on for a 28-22 win over the Knights, thanks to a defensive stand deep in their own territory.

"It was huge to jump on them like that," Walker said. "They've got a lot of talent, a lot of speed -- a couple of Division I prospects."

Stephon Chew led a Knights comeback in the second half. But Martinsburg's Jordan Fields had the biggest play.

On a third-and-goal from the 4-yard line with less than two minutes left, Fields broke through the Knights' offensive line and grabbed hold of quarterback Chris Griggs at the 9. As he dragged Griggs down, Griggs slung the ball forward and was called for intentional grounding, setting up fourth-and-goal from the 14 with 1:50 left.


Griggs' pass intended for Jaron Gillespie was errant, and Martinsburg took over on downs with its six-point lead intact. The Bulldogs were able to run out the clock when Ryan Rowland fought for a 7-yard gain on third down.

"(Fields' play) was huge," Walker said. "It was a total team effort."

Rowland, on his 18th birthday, rushed 24 times for 180 yards and three touchdowns.

He fumbled on his second carry of the game, but the Bulldogs recovered and quarterback Kam Puller scored on a 22-yard run five minutes into the game.

After FCA (3-5) went three-and-out, Rowland scored on a 57-yard run around the right side with five minutes left in the first quarter, then made the end zone on a 34-yard third-down run with 1:59 remaining in the quarter for a 21-0 lead.

Griggs finally got the Knights going with a 25-yard pass to Gillespie and a 15-yard touchdown run to make it 21-6 early in the second quarter.

A shotgun snap went high over Puller's head on the Bulldogs' next play, and the sophomore booted the ball out the back of the end zone for a safety.

After a Chris Burg interception, Rowland capped a 12-play drive with a 5-yard run to make it 28-8 at halftime.

"They were a little loose at halftime," Walker said. "I had to get after them a little. They're a good team with great athletes.

"I was surprised we were able to score 21 points in the first quarter. Last year it was scoreless at halftime."

Anthony Elliott returned the opening kickoff of the second half 80 yards for a touchdown, and after a Martinsburg drive stalled on the Knights' 40, Chew and Griggs led FCA down the field. Chew scored from 5 yards out with 4:24 left in the third quarter, making it 28-22.

A long Martinsburg drive killed much of the fourth-quarter clock but did not produce any points. Puller was tackled for an 8-yard loss on fourth down at FCA's 37.

The Knights methodically moved down the field, reaching the 4-yard line on Chew's 6-yard run before Fields helped save the game.

Chew had 12 carries for 68 yards despite having just one carry for minus-1 yard in the first half. Griggs was 11 of 20 passing for 122 yards, and the Knights were whistled for 13 penalties (totalling 106 yards) to Martinsburg's three.

James Jordan had 12 carries for 81 yards and Puller added 26 yards on 12 carries, including the 20-yard loss on the safety.

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