MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — With Martinsburg’s instate winning streak on the line Friday night, Bulldogs’ quarterback Malique Watkins ran for over 270 yards and scored three touchdowns as Martinsburg (4-1) took down Morgantown (4-1) 28-21 in week five of the high school football season.
The two teams have been ranked in the top two of the MetroNews Power Rankings all season.
“It was a great game – we had two really great teams going at it, and it came down to the end like it should,” said Martinsburg head coach Dave Walker. “I feel very blessed and pleased to be in the situation we’re in. We were very fortunate tonight. Two or three plays here and there, and it definitely could have been the other way around.”
Two of those plays were costly fumbles by Morgantown. The first came with about a minute to go in the second quarter when the Bulldogs recovered a Chazzy Thomas fumble from the Martinsburg one-yard line. That play preserved a 7-0 Martinsburg lead at the half.
Another Thomas fumble early in the third quarter was picked up by Martinsburg defensive back Carter Walburn and returned 31 yards for a score. That gave the Bulldogs a two-touchdown cushion at 21-7, ultimately too much for Morgantown to make up in the end.
“That was the game,” Walker said. “We came up big with a couple of big plays. I’m sure (Morgantown) will look back and say, ‘hey, two or three plays here and we beat Martinsburg by a score or two.’ We just happened to be the lucky ones tonight.”
Thomas, meanwhile, finished the game with over 200 yards rushing and two touchdowns, including an 80 scamper early in the third quarter that gave Morgantown its first score.
“They’ve got a great team, they have a lot of veterans up front and are really good,” Walker said. “They have some Division I guys and Chazzy is a great player.”
After a first half that featured only a Watkins 10 yard touchdown run in terms of scoring, the two teams erupted for five combined scores within five minutes early in the third quarter.
All of Martinsburg’s touchdowns came from Watkins, including a 47 yard scoring run – the dynamic Bulldogs’ quarterback had 144 yards on the ground at the half alone.
“I had that at the half? I just did what I had to do,” Watkins said. “I led my team and put it on my back. It’s a huge win. We knew they were going to be tough. We had a plan for them and executed to the best – we didn’t play a perfect game, but we did what we had to do to win.”
Morgantown made a final push late in the fourth quarter with a Thomas four-yard touchdown run to tighten the game at 28-21 with 5:41 to go. Martinsburg, though, ran the clock out on its ensuing possession as the Mohigans have now lost seven straight to the Bulldogs.
“I’m proud of our kids,” said Morgantown head coach John Bowers. “I’m disappointed in the outcome, but proud of our football team. I don’t think we lost, I think they had more points. If there are two better teams in the state than the two of us, I’d hate to see them.”
Morgantown and Martinsburg, though, could still see each other again in the postseason.
“There’s a very good chance we could play them again, and that would be a really great game,” Walker said. “We happened to get them tonight, but they might get us the next time. It’s just one of those things.”
But, for now, it’s Martinsburg that keeps its reign in Class AAA. The Bulldogs still haven’t lost to an instate opponent since 2009.
10:44, 2nd: MARTINSBURG TD, 7-0, Malique Watkins 10 yard run
11:12, 3rd: MORGANTOWN TD, 7-7, Chazzy Thomas 80 yard run
9:21, 3rd: MARTINSBURG TD, 14-7, Malique Watkins 47 yard run
9:09, 3rd: MARTINSBURG TD, 21-7, Carter Walburn 31 yard fumble return
8:15, 3rd: MORGANTOWN TD, 21-14, Ethan Goldcamp 41 yard pass to Shea Campbell
6:58, 3rd: MARTINSBURG TD, 28-14, Malique Watkins 8 yard touchdown run
5:41, 4th: MORGANTOWN TD, 28-21, Chazzy Thomas 4 yard touchdown run
- Video by C.J. Ricker