Martinsburg High football team gets a sendoff to AAA state championship

December 02, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Hundreds of their fellow students cheered members of the Martinsburg High School football team as they left campus Friday in charter buses en route to Wheeling, W.Va., to play in today's West Virginia Class AAA state championship game.

The buses were escorted by police out of Martinsburg via South Queen and West King streets just after noon.

Martinsburg High School Principal Regina Phillips already had made the trip to the Northern Panhandle for a banquet held to recognize the six schools that are vying for football titles in Class A, AA and AAA this weekend.

"We have a phenomenal group of young people on this team for the second year in a row," said Phillips, who expected the team to arrive in Wheeling about four or five hours after leaving campus. "It's a real team. Everybody has contributed."

Martinsburg will be attempting to win back-to-back titles in football, something Phillips said would be a first in her career as a school administrator.

The championship game between Martinsburg and George Washington High School is set to kick off today at noon at Wheeling Island Stadium.

The home field for Wheeling Park High School is on an island in the Ohio River, and is the site for the "Super Six" state football championships.  

Class AAA is the largest enrollment-based classification for West Virginia high school athletic competition. With an enrollment of more than 1,700 students, Martinsburg is the third largest AAA school in the state, according to the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission.

Before Friday's sendoff, Phillips said members of the school band played the fight song Thursday while walking the hallways of the school building.

"We're excited," Phillips said.

Students from Martinsburg South Middle School and Rosemont Elementary School also took part in Friday's sendoff.

Martinsburg won its first-ever championship in football last year. If the Bulldogs win another today, Phillips said the school will host a celebration Thursday night.

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