WHEELING, W.Va. — In his last high school football game, Martinsburg senior Hudson Clement rewrote the record books at Wheeling Island Stadium.
In turn, the Bulldogs rolled past Huntington for a 62-21 victory, securing their ninth Class AAA championship since 2010.
Clement, a senior wideout and defensive back, stole the show from the opening kick. He rushed for four touchdowns and caught an additional four scores to finish with eight TDs and set a Super Six scoring record in the process.
“It’s a crazy feeling,” Clement said. “You don’t go into a state championship game thinking you’re going to score eight touchdowns, but when you do, it’s insane.”
One year after the Bulldogs were bounced from the postseason as a result of the color-coded covid map, they notched a fifth consecutive title in contests played at the Super Six.
“Last year, the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my coaching career was tell sixteen seniors that they had to go home for no reason,” second-year Martinsburg head coach Britt Sherman said. “We didn’t lose on the field. It was just, ‘you have to go home.’ To be able to play it out this year is really special for these kids.”
With his younger brother, Murphy Clement, sidelined with an injury suffered two weeks ago, the Bulldogs were down one of their two quarterbacks regularly used throughout the season.
That left Ezra Bagent as the team’s primary quarterback, and he made the most of his extra opportunities.
Bagent, the younger brother of former Martinsburg and current Shepherd standout Tyson Bagent, completed 12-of-21 passes for 207 yards and five touchdowns.
“Midway through the first quarter, I knew I was in my groove and that we were going to be moving the ball against these guys,” Bagent said.
Hudson Clement also found success being utilized in a similar role to his brother, taking shotgun snaps in a wildcat set within the red zone.
That’s how he started the scoring on a 6-yard touchdown run that left the Bulldogs (13-1) with a 7-0 lead at the 5:31 mark of the first quarter. Clement set up his first touchdown by intercepting Highlanders’ quarterback Gavin Lochow, allowing MHS to start at the Huntington 26.
After an exchange of turnovers, Huntington (13-1) tied it at 7 when Lochow connected with Noah Waynick for a 6-yard touchdown pass with 23 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
It was all Bulldogs from that point forward.
Clement’s 3-yard TD run capped a seven play, 68-yard drive that gave the Bulldogs the lead for good at 14-7 with 10:46 left in the opening half.
A key sequence followed as Lochow was stopped just short of the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the Martinsburg 3, giving the Bulldogs the ball back with 4:49 remaining.
Five plays later, Clement had his third rushing touchdown from 3 yards. The 99-yard drive was aided by Clement’s 34-yard one-handed reception and Eric King’s 57-yard run, and it left MHS with a 20-7 advantage.
“That was huge,” Huntington head coach Billy Seals said. “Even if we didn’t get it, we felt like we could stop them down there and still get the ball back in pretty good field position. They ripped off a big run and got a couple plays and scored. That was a little bit of a back-breaker in the first half and I kind of felt like the tide turned after that.”
“Just being able to execute like that on offense and go 99 yards against arguably the best defense in the state other than our guys, it really set the tone for the day,” Sherman added.
Eleven seconds later, the Bulldogs had another TD after the Highlanders misplayed a pooch kick that was recovered by Xerxees Yancey, which set up Bagent’s 32-yard touchdown pass to Clement. The two-point pass play was incomplete, leaving MHS with a 26-7 lead.
“Ezra’s a big-time player,” Clement said.
Lochow’s 38-yard pass to Nakyin Harrell got the Highlanders to within 12, but the Bulldogs answered with Bagent’s 29-yard TD pass to Jacob Barrick, who also brought in the two-point pass to make it 34-14.
Avion Blackwood’s interception of a Lochow pass, combined with a 33-yard return, enabled Martinsburg to add to its advantage just before halftime when Bagent connected with Clement on a 10-yard pass to make it a 27-point game at halftime.
Lochow’s 1-yard TD run on the first series of the second half proved to be Huntington’s final scoring play and closed its deficit to 20.
Soon after, Clement produced his final rushing touchdown on a 5-yard scamper, before Barrick’s interception led to Bagent’s 21-yard TD pass to Clement. Stephon Barclay hauled in the two-point pass, leaving the Bulldogs with a 55-21 lead at the 6:52 mark of the third quarter.
“I knew we had to kick them while they were down basically,” Bagent said.
Bagent’s 40-yard pass to Clement capped the scoring with 2:26 left in the third, before the fourth quarter was played with a running clock.
Four of Clement’s seven rushing attempts were touchdowns. He amassed 41 yards on the ground and hauled in eight passes for 175 yards.
“When you have a great offense and a great team that can execute, that’s what’s going to happen,” Clement said. “It could’ve been anybody on the field. It was just great execution as a team.”
King rushed for a game-high 152 yards on 17 attempts.
Lochow rushed for 88 yards on 20 attempts and completed 11-of-23 passes for 185 yards. Martinsburg intercepted him five times for a new Super Six record.
“We won the turnover battle all year long and we were minus five today,” Seals said. “You can’t do that here and you can’t do that against Martinsburg. We gave up the ball and too many opportunities in good field position. Maybe the stage got to us a little bit today. It all falls back on me.”
Scout Arthur led all players with 14 tackles in defeat.