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Rowland runs for lone score as 'Dogs advance

November 15, 2008|By GRANT TRAYLOR

By GRANT TRAYLOR

Special to The Herald-Mail

Coming into the West Virginia Class AAA first-round matchup between Cabell Midland and Martinsburg, there had been much talk about the rushing attacks of both teams.

It seems that both defenses took offense.

In a game in which both teams struggled to move the ball, Martinsburg got a 16-yard scoring run from Ryan Rowland on a fourth-and-1 play in the fourth quarter to account for the game's only score as the Bulldogs defeated Cabell Midland 7-0 at Knights Stadium on Friday night.

"Our kids played really hard on defense," Martinsburg coach David Walker said. "To keep them out of the end zone was a huge feat for us."

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While Rowland and Kameron Puller were held in check most of the night, the Bulldogs' defense shined, turning away Cabell Midland on a pair of fourth-quarter scoring opportunities.

The biggest stop came late after Rowland's score. The Knights used the passing game to move to the Martinsburg 11 and an 8-yard scramble by Tyler Bartley put the ball at the 3-yard line to set up fourth-and-1. However, the ensuing snap was fumbled following a timeout and Martinsburg came away with the win.

"We feel we had the right play called on the fourth down," Cabell Midland coach Chip McMillian said. "We just bobbled the snap. Those things happen in the mud. It came down to mistakes in the end. We made one more than they did."

Cabell Midland had a chance to go into the end zone after Martinsburg botched a punt snap and the Knights took possession at the Bulldogs' 30.

However, Martinsburg's defense stiffened and stopped a fourth-and-3 pass from Cabell Midland quarterback Tyler Bartley to take over.

From there, the Bulldogs embarked on an 11-play, 76-yard drive that ended in Rowland's run. Puller had a 17-yard run on third down and Noon Jordan added a 14-yard burst to put Martinsburg in Cabell Midland territory.

Then on fourth-and-1, the Bulldogs went to the hurry-up offense to get into the end zone on Rowland's run.

"They were a little slow setting up and we wanted to get one on them," Walker said. "It worked out for us."

Both teams played close to the vest in the first half, unwilling to take chances in the damp atmosphere.

The offensive and defensive lines on each side played to a stalemate with neither team able to sustain drives.

Martinsburg got into the red zone midway through the second quarter, but a 35-yard field-goal attempt missed wide to squelch the only scoring opportunity in the opening 24 minutes for the Bulldogs.

Cabell Midland found the sledding much tougher early on, rushing for only 8 yards on 18 carries in the first half. The Knights finished with just 41 rushing yards and 149 total yards for the game.

Martinsburg, which also had a punt return for a score nullified by a penalty, ended the game with just 176 yards of offense. More than half of that total came in the fourth quarter as the Bulldogs asserted their running attack.

Martinsburg will face No. 1 South Charleston -- a 62-21 winner Friday over Musselman -- next week at Laidley Field in Charleston.

Grant Traylor writes for The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington, W.Va. He can be reached at gtraylor@herald-dispatch.com.

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