Bulldogs own second half, stop Cougars, 51-12
A troubled first half where it actually ceded an early lead to a Jefferson rally had Martinsburg searching for answers to its harnessed offense.
If not for a long touchdown pass-run in the final minute of the opening half, the once-beaten Bulldogs would have trailed at intermission.
As it was they had a five-point lead.
The whole of the second half was completely different. Martinsburg blanked the Cougars in the last two periods. And scored 34 points itself — giving it the last 41 points of the game — to complete a 51-12 win and move to 8-1 overall.
Where Jefferson had once absorbed a quick-strike, 10-point Martinsburg lead and then landed its own offensive punches to take a 12-10 lead just before the first half was over, the Cougars could never find the same kind of success after a Carter Walburn-to-Eric Mitchell 72-yard scoring play negated Jefferson’s comeback and lifted the still-puzzled Bulldogs to a 17-12 lead.
Martinsburg owned the last two quarters, outscoring the host Cougars 34-0 in the lopsided second half.
When Walburn intercepted an Andrew King pass and returned it 19 touchdown yards on the last half’s second play, the Bulldogs showed the first points in a potent surge of scoring that quickly settled the once-doubtful outcome.
Before the third quarter was finished, Dylan Brewer had run 41 yards and Deamonte Lindsay had a one-yard scoring run to boost the Martinsburg lead to 37-12.
King would suffer four interceptions to the greedy Bulldog defenders. The last two led directly to Martinsburg’s two fourth-quarter scores. Lindsay had a 14-yard run and Eric Brown a 13-yard scoring jaunt after the Bulldogs made interceptions.
Once it began to steamroll the Cougars, Martinsburg yielded little or nothing to the Jefferson offense. The Cougars finished with 161 yards of total offense with only 49 yards coming on the ground. The Bulldogs managed 349 yards of total offense, much of it on long gainers that eventually camouflaged its unsteady first half.
Wide receiver Christian Johnson and King scored Jefferson’s points with Johnson moving within one touchdown of the West Virginia state record for scoring catches in a season.
Now 5-3 overall, the Cougars have season-ending games against winless Hedgesville and Washington, a team with one win. Should the Cougars finish with a 7-3 record they will land in the state playoffs.
Martinsburg, which has reeled off big-school state championships in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, has a last remaining game versus Musselman before setting off to defend its many championships in the pending state playoffs that begin on November 14-15.
Martinsburg had counted the game’s last 41 points in subduing the Jefferson insurrection. Jefferson had shown a certain grit in coming back from a 10-point deficit against a confident, four-time state championship team.
And both teams could continue on toward the state playoffs.