Martinsburg goes for record fourth straight

MARTINSBURG, W.Va — In the regular season, Wheeling Park calls Wheeling Island Stadium its home, but when it comes to Super Six weekend in December, Martinsburg has made it its home the last four years. The No. 2 Bulldogs(12-1) will set their sights on an record fourth consecutive Class AAA state title on Saturday, after disposing of Capital 35-21 in the semis.

“You can never anticipate playing for a state title,” head coach Dave Walker said. “You hope you have that opportunity, but you have to put in the work.”

Quarterback Malique Watkins and Deamonte Lindsay have led the Bulldogs on offense all year, both amounting for over 1,000 yards on the ground. Also, junior running back Eric Brown has put up over 850 yards on the year as well.

“It takes all 11 of them, they work hard together as a group,” Walker said. “I know two or three guys get the attention, they don’t worry about whose getting credit, they just get the job done.”

Part of those 11 include the physical presence up front of 6-foot-3, 440 pound A.J. Petry and 6-foot, 365 pound Eric Davis.

Martinsburg defeated Capital 35-21 in the semifinals of the playoffs.

“Our offensive line is made of a bunch of overachievers who work hard,” Walker said.

Waiting for Martinsburg in Wheeling is a Huntington team that’s coming off of one of its best performances of the year, beating a hot Wheeling Park team, 34-21. The offense for the Highlanders put up the most points since week nine against St. Albans.

“They’re a great team, (head coach) Billy (Seals) and those guys have done a great job in a small amount of time,” Walker said. “They have tremendous athletes, it’s going to be a big challenge for us, but it’s No. 1 versus No. 2 that’s how it should play out.”

There are many challenges and expectations that come in being the three-time defending state champs — but Walker and his players accept the challenge every time out.

“Everyone wants to knock us off, our kids know they are a target and they have to work,” Walker said. “I’d rather be in a position I’m in now, rather than to be on the other end of it.”

If Martinsburg can take down the Highlanders they will would be the first AAA program to win four straight championships. Charleston won three consecutive titles from 1968-70. It would also mark the 16th straight playoff win and the Bulldogs’ 36th straight over a West Virginia opponent.

For Walker, specifically, the potential title would also hit even closer to home for him as his son, Troy, plays at tight end as a senior.

“It’s a great group of kids, not overly talented like some of the groups in the past, but they play together and work hard,” Walker said. “It’s a group I’ve been around for a long time, since my son is a senior.”

Kickoff on Saturday is set for noon.

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