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Bulldogs impress Walker

August 28, 2009|By MARK KELLER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The look on Martinsburg coach David Walker's face didn't match his emotion Friday night.

"It might not show on my face, but I'm extremely happy with you guys," Walker told the Bulldogs as they huddled following their season-opening 31-17 win over Stonewall Jackson at Cobourn Field.

The game wasn't as close as the score might indicate -- Martinsburg led 31-0 after three quarters. Walker's concern is that it shouldn't have even been that close.

"We could have scored two or three more times and didn't execute," Walker said. "They got a couple scores on some of our young guys and that's OK. But we missed a few opportunities to really put it away."

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The game was essentially in hand for the Bulldogs early in the third quarter. Martinsburg led the Raiders 24-0 at halftime and needed just four plays to go 58 yards on its first possession of the second half. A 38-yard quarterback draw by Kam Puller was the big play of the short drive, which David Gladden capped with a 2-yard touchdown run -- his second of the game.

The Raiders followed with their first sustained drive of the game, going from their own 29 to the Martinsburg 27 before turning the ball over on downs.

The Bulldogs made another stand after Stonewall Jackson blocked a punt and recovered it at the Martinsburg 6.

Arlando Budd gained 5 yards on first down and an encroachment penalty moved the ball inside the 1-yard line. But Martinsburg stuffed Budd on two straight plays, then held Dion Chatman short of the goal line on fourth down to maintain the shutout for the moment.

"That was a nice stop for us," Walker said. "Our defense really played well tonight."

The Raiders busted up the shutout early in the fourth quarter by blocking another punt in the Martinsburg end zone for a safety.

Stonewall Jackson scored twice more in the fourth quarter and Martinsburg botched another scoring chance of its own when Puller fumbled on the Raiders' 2-yard line.

"We want to win, and I'm happy with this win, but when we get sloppy and don't finish things like we should ... I'm a perfectionist in some regards, so things like that don't sit well with me," Walker said.

Puller, a junior in his second season as Martinsburg's starting quarterback, played well in the opener, rushing for 156 yards and a touchdown. He completed 6 of 16 passes for 62 yards.

"Last year, he was kind of a chicken with his head cut off. He was a lot more in control and he's really taken a leadership role," Walker said. "He didn't have a great percentage tonight, but he threw a couple of good balls."

Despite having two punts blocked, special teams weren't a total disaster for the Bulldogs, either. David Hammond returned a punt 46 yards for a touchdown after nearly muffing the kick and Drew Dopson kicked a 36-yard field goal. Freshman Cedric Brown also ran for 25 yards taking a direct snap on a fake punt.

"We said coming in tonight that special teams could be big for us," Walker said.

Martinsburg 31, Stonewall Jackson 17
S. Jackson 0 0 0 17 -- 17
Martinsburg 13 11 7 0 -- 31

M -- Kam Puller 20 run (Drew Dopson kick)
M -- David Hammond 46 punt return (kick failed)
M -- David Gladden 5 run (run failed)
M -- Safety, Arlando Budd tackled in end zone
M -- FG Dopson 36
M -- Gladden 2 run (Dopson kick)
SJ -- Safety, blocked punt covered in end zone
SJ -- Sean Blackman 7 run (Blackman run)
SJ -- Chris Urick 11 pass from Brandon Simmons (Andrew Hunt kick)

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