Spring Valley couldn’t beat Martinsburg; can anyone else?
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Which team is the logical favorite to win the West Virginia Class AAA football championship again in 2019?
Most people with some knowledge of Mountain State high school football would sing out “Martinsburg.”
The Bulldogs carry a 42-game winning streak into the season. After reeling off three consecutive 14-0 seasons and claiming three straight state titles, the Bulldogs appear to be just as menacing to those on their schedule as they ever have been.
Not only have the high-riding Bulldogs won three straight state titles, but they have also won seven of the last nine state championships.
Spring Valley from far southwestern West Virginia has lost to the Bulldogs in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 title games.
Capital has been in a winning mode for years now, and went 11-2 last season. What about Musselman, one of four Class AAA teams in Berkeley County? The Applemen lost only twice in 2018, but both losses were inflicted by Martinsburg, which scored 70 points on the Applemen in one of those games.
Ripley was another two-loss team in 2018, and could be a confident winner again this year.
Traditional top-level football schools like Parkersburg, Cabell Midland, Huntington and Parkersburg South have not been mentioned in the same paragraph as Martinsburg in recent years.
Berkeley County’s Hedgesville had a seven-win season in 2018, but gave up 70 points in a loss to Martinsburg.
Could Wheeling Park, John Marshall, University or Morgantown rise tall and topple the Bulldog dynasty? Not likely. Not likely at all.
What about upstarts: Beckley’s Woodrow Wilson, Hurricane or George Washington? Those teams could make noise in their own counties, but chasing down and overhauling Martinsburg doesn’t appear to be a part of those teams’ futures.
After doing so much winning for so many years, Martinsburg finds piecing together a schedule has become increasingly difficult.
Salem (Va.) is a new team on Martinsburg’s schedule. Two schools from Washington, D.C., come to Cobourn Field in the early season. Eastern and H.D. Woodson feel the sting of Martinsburg’s usually balanced team on an annual basis.
Academy Park registers winning seasons (9-3 in 2018) in Pennsylvania, but hasn’t done anything to snap the growing win streak.
The Warriors of Sherando (Stephens City, Va.) have done almost everything, except tame the Bulldogs. Martinsburg goes to Sherando this year, in hopes of repeating last season’s 50-45 win over the annual playoff team.
And then there are the five area schools trying to play the role of giant killer, but being recast as victims, as the Martinsburg winning streak continues.
Will Sherando do it? Could Salem, playing at home, be the spoiler?
Even a Martinsburg loss to any out-of-state team wouldn’t necessarily mean an end to the Bulldogs stranglehold on the Class AAA state championship trophy.