MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Martinsburg scored 31 unanswered points to extend their state-record win streak to 46 games, defeating Academy Park of Sharon Hill, Pa. 45-8. The Knights entered the game with a 4-0 record and they were ranked 9th in Pennsylvania Class 5A by MaxPreps.
“They’re a good football team and the score really does not indicate how close the game was,” said Martinsburg head coach Dave Walker. “We had to fight for everything we got and they’ve got a nice team and they’re going to win a lot of games. So it was a huge win for us.”
Senior quarterback Elijah Banks tossed three touchdown passes and ran for another score. His 12-yard touchdown run gave the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.
“I see him getting better each week,” Walker said. “He made some really nice throws tonight and he has been playing really well. He is doing what we expected.”
Academy Park slowed the Martinsburg rushing attack in the first half, But junior running back Naieem Kearney found the end zone three times in the second half.
“First half, they had seven guys in the box and just made it difficult to try to run the football,” Walker said. “Once they loosened up, we were able to find a few seams. We feel like we are pretty balanced and we will do whatever we need to do to be successful.”
A Barry Brown 1-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter pulled the Knights within six points at 14-8. But those were the only points the Bulldog defense allowed. Senior Teddy Marshall intercepted three passes for MHS.
“Teddy is a great player on both sides of the ball,” Walker said. “We probably don’t get him the ball on offense. We only have one ball and we’ve got a bunch a great players. Defensively, he has a knack for the ball and he is smart player and knows what he is doing and just keeps making plays for us.”
Jarod Bowie reeled in six passes in the first half, including a 38-yard scoring strike in the first quarter. Malakai Brown also found the end zone on a 27-yard reception in the second quarter to make the score 21-8 at halftime.
The Bulldogs (4-0) will now face eastern panhandle rivals Hedgesville, Washington and Spring Mills over the next week before visiting their final out-of-state opponent Salem, Va. on October 18th.
“There’s times we need to have more of a sense of urgency,” Walker said. “Sometimes we are walking around when we shouldn’t be walking around. I worry about complacency a little bit. It is easy to start thinking about how good you are rather than getting better. That being said, they are teenagers. That’s our job as coaches to stay on them. I definitely think there are areas we can improve in.”