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Martinsburg bows out in football quarterfinals

November 23, 2008

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Tyler Harris scored on a 25-yard run with 3:59 remaining in the fourth quarter and the South Charleston defense locked up Martinsburg's offense one final time as the Black Eagles beat the Bulldogs 28-21 Saturday in the quarterfinals of the West Virginia Class AAA football playoffs at the University of Charleston.

South Charleston (12-0), the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, moves on to host Morgantown in the semifinals next weekend. Martinsburg finishes the season 9-3.

The Black Eagles were tough on Martinsburg's offense all day, holding the Bulldogs to 144 yards and 10 first downs.

Martinsburg quarterback Kameron Puller gained just 28 yards on 23 carries and running back Ryan Rowland had 25 yards on 13 carries. Both players rushed for more than 1,000 yards in the regular season.

Despite their troubles moving the ball, the Bulldogs never trailed by more than seven points. All three of their touchdowns, however, came in unorthodox ways.

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Trailing 6-0 in the second quarter, Brett Rogers connected with Darren Arndt on a 24-yard touchdown pass on a fake field goal.

James Jordan added the point after to give the Bulldogs a 7-6 lead.

In the third quarter, Jordan Fields returned a blocked punt 10 yards to tie the score at 14.

Harris scored his first touchdown -- a 1-yard run -- later in the third, but the two-point attempt failed as South Charleston took a 20-14 lead into the final period.

With 6:14 left in the game, Rowland took a handoff at the Black Eagles 1 and fumbled into the end zone, where Jordan recovered for the touchdown, then added the conversion to put the Bulldogs up 21-20 and on the verge of an upset.

But South Charleston answered on the next drive as a 15-yard run by Harris set up his game-winning score.

A 34-yard kickoff return by David Hammond gave Martinsburg good field position to start another potential rally, but on a fourth-and-5 play, the ball was snapped past Puller, who was in shotgun formation, to end the threat and allow South Charleston to run out the clock.

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