MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — It’s a new group, but the same story for Martinsburg heading into the 2014 football campaign.
The Bulldogs will enter the season as the favorites in Class AAA again, going for their fifth straight state championship. A 9-7 win over Huntington back in December gave Martinsburg an unprecedented fourth consecutive title.
“The group that we had last year was a bunch of over-achievers,” said Martinsburg coach Dave Walker. “We weren’t overly talented, but those kids worked hard and they played extremely hard. Once the bar and expectations are raised that high, the kids are going to play hard. I don’t know how good we’ll be, but we will play pretty hard.”
Undoubtedly, Walker’s club from here on out will continue to hear and talk about his program’s potential for a five-peat.
“That’ll be the hot topic,” Walker said. “But we’ll approach it like we have the past four years. Our goal was just to go out every day and get better in practice, try to take care of the little things and hopefully, if we play well enough in the regular season, we’ll put ourselves into position.”
Walker’s son, Troy, is one of the talents that will be gone from that 2013 club. Another hole to fill will be at quarterback where Malique Watkins put up 2,784 total offensive yards and scored 36 touchdowns last season.
“We lost some great players as we do every year, but the group we have coming back has worked extremely hard,” Walker continued. “They’re excited about getting back, getting August started and getting the season going.
It’s 6-foot junior Carter Walburn expected to take over for Watkins at quarterback.
“He played outside linebacker for us last year as a sophomore,” Walker said. “He has picked things up pretty good, but there’s always room for improvement. We have some other guys too who may take some reps – it may be a couple of guys that end up doing the job for us.”
Regardless, the Bulldogs will have a deep, proven backfield in the fold as Deamonte Lindsay and Eric Brown both head into their senior seasons.
The 6-foot-2, 190 pound Lindsay, specifically, finished the 2013 campaign with 1,200 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns on 103 carries.
“The sky is the limit for him,” Walker said. “He has a great frame, he’s fast, very smart and has kind of flown under the radar because of some of the other kids we have had. He has a lot of potential and I think he will get a lot of attention this year.”
The Bulldogs also return leading receivers Eric Mitchell and Dylan Brewer who both head into their senior campaigns.
“We have some skill-kids back, we just have to fill some holes up front and obviously solidify our quarterback,” Walker said. “I think we’ll be alright.”
Martinsburg opens up the year with four straight out-of-state opponents prior to a September 26th battle at Morgantown.
“(Our schedule is) grueling,” Walker said. “We’re playing the same schedule as last year and have to go to Morgantown, which will be tough. If we can survive the first half of our schedule, we’ll be pretty decent. We could open up the season anywhere from 0-5 to 5-0.”
2014 Football Schedule
|1||08/29/14 07:00PM||H||HD WOODSON, DC H.S.||–|
|2||09/05/14 07:00PM||H||SHERANDO, VA H.S.||–|
|3||09/12/14 07:00PM||H||STATE COLLEGE, PA HS||–|
|4||09/19/14 07:00PM||H||TUSCARORA, VA H.S.||–|
|7||10/10/14 07:00PM||A||SPRING MILLS||–|
|wins: 0 lost: 0 ties: 0|