Martinsburg wins 40th straight game
Class AAA No. 1 Martinsburg is one win away from playing for a third consecutive state championship after the Bulldogs beat No. 9 Parkersburg 49-20 in Saturday’s quarterfinal at Cobourn Field.
In matchup of programs with a combined 11 Class AAA state titles since 1999, the Bulldogs got off to a fast start via Dewayne Grantham’s 59-yard touchdown run.
Parkersburg (7-5) pulled even with a 1-yard TD run by Shane Miller, and the score stayed 7-7 until Grant Harman threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jarod Bowie on the second play of the second quarter to give MHS the lead for good.
Naieem Kearney took a screen pass 73 yards for a score that allowed Martinsburg (12-0) to take a 21-7 lead into halftime.
Harman’s 3-yard touchdown run early in the second half moved the advantage to 28-7, but the Big Reds answered with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Jake Johnson to Brenton Strange.
The Bulldogs put the game away via a blocked punt by R.J. Barrett that Adam Brinegar recovered for a touchdown late in the third quarter.
Harman scored on a 20-yard run, before Johnson found Kionte Peacock for a 72-yard TD pass to cap the Big Reds’ scoring and pull them to within 42-20.
Elijah Banks’ 16-yard touchdown pass to Kearney with 5:18 remaining proved to be the final scoring play of the game.
The Bulldogs will stay at home next week to take on No. 4 Musselman in a rematch of a regular season game that Martinsburg won 70-0. Martinsburg will be after its 41st consecutive win as it seeks a return trip to Wheeling.
Bluefield blanks Keyser
The defending Class AA champion Beavers are on the brink of having a chance to repeat after Saturday’s 35-0 win against Keyser at Mitchell Stadium.
In a game originally scheduled to be played Friday but postponed until Saturday due to weather, the Class AA No. 2 Beavers used a quick start to set the tone and never looked back against the Golden Tornado.
Chandler Cooper’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Jamere ‘Juice’ Edwards got the scoring started, and J.J. Davis added a 14-yard TD run to give the Beavers an early 14-0 lead.
The score stayed that way until Cooper threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Ronnell Blevins in the third quarter, giving the Beavers a comfortable enough cushion to cruise from there.
With the win, the Beavers will stay at home to face No. 3 Bridgeport next week in a rematch of a Class AA semifinal from a year ago.
Weir ends Grizzlies’ unbeaten season
Class AA No. 12 is the only double digit seed remaining following the Red Riders’ 63-43 victory over No. 4 Nicholas County in Saturday’s quarterfinal in Summersville.
Jacob O’Dell got the Grizzlies (11-1) off to a strong start with a 53-yard touchdown run 4:47 into the action, but Weir answered immediately on Donavan Kirby’s 22-yard TD run at the 5:14 mark of the opening quarter.
Leading 7-6, Weir added to its advantage after Sebastian Spencer’s 25-yard touchdown run.
Garet Hostuttler’s 1-yard touchdown run moved the advantage to 21-6, but the Grizzlies cut the deficit to seven on quarterback Jared Sagraves’ 1-yard TD run combined with a successful two-point conversion.
Weir got a key TD late in the first half when Tyler Komorowski found Spencer for a 30-yard pass on a third-and-18 play that allowed the Red Riders to take a 28-14 lead into halftime.
The Grizzlies used a 54-yard run from O’Dell to score just 1:42 into the second half and cut their deficit in half, but Kirby’s 45-yard TD run at the 9:02 mark of the third allowed the Red Riders to regain their two-touchdown lead.
O’Dell’s 1-yard TD run with 23 seconds remaining in the third quarter capped off a 98-yard drive and allowed Nicholas County to trail by eight.
However, a fumbled punt set Weir up a the Grizzlies’ 13-yard line early in the fourth quarter, and Kirby plunged into the end zone to make it 42-27.
Weir blocked a punt and scored a touchdown off it with just over 6 minutes remaining to take a 49-27 lead and Kirby put any thought of a Grizzlies’ rally to rest with a 22-yard TD run that made it 56-27.
The Red Riders will play at No. 1 Fairmont Senior in a quarterfinal next week. The Polar Bears beat Weir 43-13 back on Oct. 5.
Perfection in Progress
Unbeaten teams remaining (by class):
AAA: Martinsburg, Spring Valley
AA: Fairmont Senior
A: Doddridge County, Midland Trail
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