MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Martinsburg won’t have to forfeit wins, after all.

WVSSAC executive director Gary Ray said Monday that Bulldogs’ quarterback Malique Watkins has now been ruled eligible.

The senior was initially ruled ineligible by the SSAC last month, according to W.V.C.S.R 127-2-5.3.a, which states: “A student held back one year on sixth, seventh, or eighth grade without failing shall lose the fourth year of eligibility after entering ninth grade.”

A court injunction had allowed Watkins to continue playing, despite being ruled ineligible. The SSAC last Thursday held a hearing with Watkins on the matter, where Ray says new information was revealed.

Christopher C. Davis/Clark’s Artistic Photography

Martinsburg quarterback Malique Watkins is now eligible to play by the WVSSAC – a court injunction had allowed him to play over the last several weeks.

“We have brought some closure to it,” Ray said. “In the hearing last week, information came out that he was actually retained according to county policy – that being the case, he is in fact eligible. He was retained and confirmed by the central office, based upon Berkeley County policy.

“This information had not been available to me earlier until we had the hearing,” Ray continued. “After the hearing, we were able to make the final determination.”

Martinsburg is currently 7-1 on the season, ranked No. 4 in last week’s SSAC ratings.

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  • There You Have It

    A college freshman still playing High School ball, amazing that he is more dominant over the younger kids.....

    Anyhow, another example of how Martinsburg promotes sports over education. Brandon Barrett is the perfect example of why education is important. His high school stats still rank in the top two Nationally, but he wasn't "smart" enough to play in college.

    You can't put a AAA football title on your career resume!

    • A.B.

      A decade of "winning tradition" in that county. Brandon Barrett was listed in recruiting profiles as having a 2.8 GPA at that multi-championship "school".

  • Dwayne

    If everything is true that people are saying about MHS football, maybe the WVSSAC should be investigated for wrong doings. Obviously, they are ultimately held responsible for all programs activities...

  • Cheap Authentic Coach Purses

    that is a ok news. Cheap Authentic Coach Purses

  • A.B.

    Interesting. The rule states: “A student held back one year on sixth, seventh, or eighth grade without failing shall lose the fourth year of eligibility after entering ninth grade.” Yet Watkins WAS held back one year on sixth, seventh, or eighth grade without failing???
    In addition, there is rule 7.2.7: "Notwithstanding any other provisions of WVSSAC rules and regulations, if a student transfers for athletic reasons, the student will be ineligible for 365 days from the date of enrollment." - How was this rule "circumvented", also?
    I hope Martinsburg isn't becoming another Steubenville , OH ... for all the wrong reasons.

  • hurricane

    Huntington is good.. but they would lose to both morgantown and martinsburg. No question

  • FlyingEagle

    I think we might be losing sight of things a little bit. In today's society, I applaud any kid that will put in the work that it takes to be a high school athlete. Instead of causing problems for his school or selling drugs, the boy shows up to work everyday and puts in what appears to be extraordinary effort. I am from Beckley (martinsburg has knocked us out of the playoffs two years in a row) and could not be more impressed by the way that Martinsburg runs their program. Excited to see them and Huntington play if that were to work out.

    • Shadow

      Good comment! Sports create a Work Ethic.

  • wvfootballfan

    I wasn't being derogatory in any way to anyone. The spell check but asylums instead of watkins. So I don't understand the loser comment from concerned. Unless u think holding a child back for athletics us a good idea.

    • Concerned Citizen

      It doesn't matter what you or I think. The Law has been laid down. Get over it and let kids be kids!

  • Concerned Citizen


  • wvfootballfan


  • wvfootballfan

    The rule was written to stop parents from holding their kids back for sports reasons. It is silly to me but many parents think their kid would be a superstar if he/she had an extra year to mature. It does give the kid an advantage. Many times the child is still mediocre but sometimes it pays off. And yes before all the burg fans start I know asylums is 18. Just answering this general question

    • Shadow

      The unfortunate part of this is that it penalizes those children that should be held back for their education. Children mature physically and mentally at different rates. I am sure that the rule was instigated because someone thought they were wronged and someone, their opponent, benefited by a hold-back.

  • Shadow

    The SSAC rule was stupid and nonsensical. I asked once who wrote the rule and for whom but I never got an answer. Someone benefited by having the rule some time ago and it was left on the books. The Court did the right thing by correcting the SSAC.

  • ProperEnglish

    So EP Hater are you against the Eastern Panhandle? And what reason would that be? Could it be because we are the ones that are winning all the state titles? I admit I am not a Martinsburg fan, however, I will support these kids. It seems like no matter where our kids go and in what sport, they are ridiculed for being from the eastern panhandle. We as a whole HEDGESVILLE, MARTINSBURG, MUSSSLEMAN, JEFFERSON AND WASHINGON will all continue to bring it back home just to piss people like you off! And go ahead and chalk that up to all major sports!

    • Glenn

      I totally agree with you, I graduated from Hedgesville High, I now live in Chicago, I support all the panhandle teams and keep track of them, some of these posters are just jealous haters of all the state championship's the eastern panhandle has acquired over the past several years! Our domination and as the eastern panhandle continues to grow from the influx of families moving in from the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, I suspect more championship's in our future, Go Martinsburg!!!!!!! Bring home a 4th championship to the eastern panhandle! I will be following Martinsburg, Hedgesville, Mussleman, Spring Mills, Jefferson and Washington from my new home in Chicago. For the rest of the state continue your hating it just fuels our fire!!!!!!!

  • ProperEnglish

    I find it quite commical there are so many Eastern Panhandle Haters out there. Will you guys consider changing your name to Martinsburg Haters? I know being from this area I would! It seems that their bullying behavior, and undeserved arrogance has corrupted everyone in the state from liking anyone or anything from EP. Really calling out Coach Church? He has turned HHS basketball around and we love him! We respect him! He makes sure our kids get an education, not passed because they are star atheletes!

    • 1Prouddog

      Hey ProperEnglish are you for real?...HHS, coach Church, hate for Martinsburg. Well join the rest of the LOSERS that post. If you can't beat them you have to HATE them! LOL

    • EP Haters

      I had to laugh after word #5....sorry. You're posting under ProperEnglish, then you misspell COMICAL. Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

      P.S. - I doubt all of Hedgesville loves Coach Church. In fact, I know that most of his former players don't like him. Furthermore, if his win % wasn't so high (from beating the equivalent of middle school teams) you and the rest of the town wouldn't put up with him either.

      • ProperEnglish

        I am sure the reason you are such a Coach Church hater is because HHS beat your team! He really is a great coach and he cares about the kids! He wants them to peruse a secondary education. He wants a future for them beyond Hedgesville.

        • Jum

          When's the last time hedgesville beat martinsburg in football or basketball?

      • Nancy

        So you know for a fact that Church's former players don't like him? Because as the parent of a former player myself, I disagree. The only ones who didn't "like" him were the ones who were slacking off in class or being disrespectful to other teachers/students. He didn't put up with that nonsense AT ALL. That man made it his goal to get his players to care about their schooling and try to go further in life- so for you to make that comment is an insult. And, since we are slinging mud, let's ask Dave Rogers players what they think of him? I'm sure we could set up a group session at ERJ.
        Please get back to running your mouth about football. That is all.

        • Reggie

          Nancy, that may have been the case with Kelly Church years ago. Having been a part of the program for the last seven years Kelly sold out because he couldn't win with good kids in the classroom. He recruited kids that were academically ineligible from south middle school and actually was caught doing so until a parent at the school lied for him. I liked church better before he sold out his values just for a state championship. Keep drinking the kool aid.

          • Andrew

            Reggie, I too have been involved with the program for a number of years. I'm not really sure where you get your information from, but you should truly check your sources. My guess is you aren't nearly as "in the loop" as you think you are, and are relying on the word of bitter rivals. The fact of the matter is, everything Nancy said is true. Her opinion is shared by a lot of parents and players from years past. Anyone who truly knows Kelly Church and the dedication that he puts into what he does every day, would never be able to say something so stupid. They won that state championship because of hard work and dedication- just like the other teams in the area who have brought back championships to our area. I'm afraid that you my friend have been sipping on some Kool Aid...

      • EP Haters

        Also, that sentence should read:

        I find it quite comical that there are so many Eastern Panhandle Haters out there.

        I don't claim to be an expert, when it comes to grammar. But I do find that funny

  • EP Haters

    Mills is a criminal attorney. He doesn't handle civil suits.

  • 1Prouddog

    Mitchell you are way off and way out of line. Yes Mills was a representative for Malik but Malik played for the 49ers in EPYFL. You should only speak to the facts.

    • Mitchell

      I didn't say that he personally played for the Browns, I didn't actually know what team he played for then. But I will say this. Anyone who is or has been involved with EPYFL knows what I'm talking about. Furthermore, I'm well aware that S&J was his attorney, because Mills is a defense attorney.