Incredibly the The last time that Martinsburg lost a home game it was back in 2005 to Hurricane, 26-21 in the 1st round of the playoffs. This years seniors, who were 4 years old at the time, and the rest of their redskin teammates could not duplicate that effort Saturday.
In Hurricane's coach Taylor's post game comments to his players he shared that Martinsburg's Coach Dave Taylor had confessed that he believed that the Redskins were the toughest opponent any of the top 8 seeds faced in the AAA playoff's first round. With the effort displayed by the Redskins no one would be debating his assessment.
The game began with a long kick-off return by the Bulldogs, the only one keeping the play from a touchdown was Redskin kicker Tim McCutchen. As he had done on 2 other occasions this season, McCutchen made a touchdown saving tackle. Unfortunately he was injured on the tackle and would not return. This would prove costly for the Redskins.
Martinsburg enjoyed the favorable field position and 7 plays into the game QB Grant Harmon scored, walker James blocked the PAT leaving the score 6-0.
Hurricane's offense went 3 and out and the loss of McCutchen came back to haunt Hurricane. Riley Meadows forced into the unenviable position of emergency punter, fumbled the snap and was tackled on the 20 yard line. Harmon capped this drive as well and after a successful 2-point conversation, Martinsburg pushed their lead to 14-0, and may have had vision of another 70-0 laughable victory, the exact score of their last 2 victories including one over #4 Mussleman. Hurricane would prove that they were no joke!
The Bulldogs drove to the Hurricane 1 yard line on their next drive but the defense stiffened, J.T. Cooper (14 tackles) and Tyrone Washington (6 tackles) both had key stops, and on 4th down Cooper crushed Harmon forcing a fumble.
After the offense stalled once again, Meadows got off a solid punt from his own end zone, but the Bulldogs completed a 34 yard pass on the next play and had a first and goal inside the Redskins 1 yard line. Once again Hurricane's stellar defense would not buckle. Stops by Cameron "Maurice" Kimble (6 tackles) and Dalton Geter keyed another goal line stand.
Martinsburg, their fans, and even their play by play announcers were stunned. "This is something that we have not seen all year, wow, no one has controlled Martinsburg like this team has done," was the radio call after Hurricane's back to back goal line stands.
When the Bulldogs got the ball back, they seemed to say the heck with the run, and 2 pass completions carried 55 yards, another relatively short drive, the 2nd a 30 yard TD completion from Harmon to Marshall put Martinsburg up 21-0.
Hurricane put together an 11 play drive prior to the half, aided by a few Martinsburg penalties one of which was roughing Meadows on a punt, however Nathan Roy (2-13-0-0 32 yards) was sacked as the half ended.
Taylor tried several different looks to try to get his offense going, along with Roy, Christian Hill (26-94) and even R.J. Engel took snaps at QB. Engel even attempted a pass on a double reverse but Martinsburg was not fooled and Harmon intercepted Engle's pass. "we just couldn't get anything going," Taylor told the Martinsburg Journal, "they took away Christian and we tried different things to move the ball."
Haiden Cook (7 tackles and a sack) played an outstanding game, but was injured in the 2nd half, and the game was halted allowing emergency crews to come to his aid. Our prayers go to Haiden who left in an ambulance but was released from the hospital shortly thereafter.
The Redskins would have one more 4th down stop in the 2nd half as Able Cunningham (career high 8 tackles) was able to break up a pass attempt.
Martinsburg would use a short field to score twice more the last of which after the Redskins caused another red zone fumble, this one recovered by a Bulldog Offensive lineman to complete the scoring.
Hurricane held Martinsburg to their lowest point total of the entire season, and gained much respect. "They gave us on of our toughest tests of the season, give them a lot of credit, I told our guys that we are not going to score 60 or 70, they were the best team in the bottom half of the bracket," agreed Bulldog defensive coordinator Buddy Hesen.
Notes: Chase Lauerman also registered a sack.
Engel and Cooper each had a 16 yard reception.
Jordan Williams recovered a fumble.
Meadows managed to get off 7 punts in his first ever opportunity punting.
The game was played with winds whipping resulting in wind chill in the mid 20s.
Hurricane falls to 6-21 in the playoffs