MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — David Walker is plenty used to this by now.
The veteran Martinsburg football coach is in a familiar spot this summer with the Bulldogs coming off their third straight Class AAA championship, which marked the program’s seventh title in the last nine seasons.
Martinsburg is also riding a 42-game win streak, the longest in state history and third longest active streak in the country, according to highschoolfootballamerica.com.
Yet Walker would be the first to tell you keeping the Bulldogs motivated is hardly a difficult task.
“They have high expectations for themselves and it’s shown in the offseason and it shows out here,” Walker said during 7-on-7 camp at West Virginia University. “As long as they come out and give us their best effort, then whatever happens happens. We’ll live with the results.”
A fourth straight 14-0 season is the exact result everybody around the MHS program is hoping for.
While the Bulldogs return more than their fair share of notable players, they’ll have to move forward without the graduating class of 2018. That group was headlined by quarterback/defensive back Grant Harman and also featured skill position standouts Dewayne Grantham, Chelo Teneval and Michael Boaitey.
The losses of Aaron Pierson, R.J. Barrett and Matt VanDuzer leave holes to be filled on defense.
Walker got a look at his group in several 7-on-7 tournaments, including the one at WVU to wrap up the three-week period. Prior to coming to Morgantown, Martinsburg competed in two others at Shenandoah University and John Handley High School (Va.).
“We just want to give the kids an opportunity to compete and try to get better,” Walker said. “It’s not real football, but your receivers and quarterback can work on things and your defensive backs can work on things. The kids enjoy coming to Morgantown and it gives them an opportunity to come out and play and compete.”
This year’s senior class is hoping to leave with four state championships in four seasons — a feat also accomplished by the class of 2013 at MHS.
One of those seniors, Elijah Banks, will take over full-time duties at quarterback after seeing plenty of action behind center a season ago. Banks should benefit from the return of a strong group around him that includes tailbacks Trey Sine and Naieem Kearney, wideouts Jarod Bowie and Teddy Marshall and lineman Matt Bednarski.
“They’re tremendous athletes and my job is easy when I have these guys,” Banks said. “All I have to do is get the ball to them and let them make plays.”
A preview of what’s to come was on display during the 7-on-7 events. Bowie, in particular, was a playmaker throughout the Bulldogs’ competition at WVU.
“We’re just trying to iron out some things and make sure that he gets the timing down with his receivers,” Walker said. “We feel like we have a really good corps of receivers for him to throw to.”