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Martinsburg rolls past RCB, 53-12

by Charles Casey

CORRESPONDENT

MARTINSBURG -- Class AAA top-rated Martinsburg showed its muscle with a dominating 53-12 victory over Robert C. Byrd in first-round high school football playoff action Saturday at Cobourn Field.

It was too much Nate Sowers and Brandon Barrett for the Eagles to handle.

Sowers completed 14-of-25 passes for 267 yards and five touchdowns. Barrett was his main target, as he grabbed eight receptions for 144 yards and tied a AAA playoff record with four touchdowns.

"Those two guys are simply tremendous athletes and they have been doing this all year," Martinsburg coach David Walker said.

"Sowers and Barrett are as good as they've been advertised, but we had people right there to make plays against them on defense, it was just their athletic ability was too good," RCB coach Bryan Fisher said.

The Bulldogs (11-0) took the opening kickoff and marched 51 yards in five plays as Sowers connected with Barrett on a 19-yard touchdown. That gave the host a 7-0 lead with 10:30 remaining in the opening quarter.

From then on, the track meet was on as Barrett intercepted an Eagles pass to set up the next Martinsburg score -- a Carl Redman 1-yard TD run to extend the margin to 14-0 with 3:34 left in the first quarter.

The interception was the first of several miscues by RCB, as Adrian Haskins returned a fumble 36 yards to the RCB 10 to set up the next score.

Three plays later, Jeremiah Johnson booted a 36-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter to give the Bulldogs a 17-0 lead.

Disaster struck again on RCB's next possession as Donyea Bennett blocked a Robert C. Byrd punt out of the end zone for a safety.

After the free kick, Sowers connected with Barrett on a 55-yard pass and run to increase the lead to 25-0 with 10:08 to play in the first half.

Barrett came up with his second interception of the first half on RCB's next possession, and the Bulldogs capitalized.

Sowers tossed his third touchdown pass of the first half, this time to Mark Richmond from 25 yard.

The Eagles finally got their offense in gear, marching 73 yards in nine plays with Tyjuan Wright scoring from 1 yard, cutting the deficit to 32-6 with 38 seconds left in the first half.

However, that was more than enough time for the Bulldogs, as Sowers moved Martinsburg 65 yards on three passes. His final completion went to Barrett and covered 19 yards for the score as Martinsburg led 39-6 at halftime.

The Bulldogs amassed 335 yards of offense in the first half to blow the game open.

"I thought we were very focused from the opening kickoff and these guys have been waiting to play since we had the bye week," Walker said. "We knew Robert C. Byrd had a very good offense, so we wanted to come out and make a statement early."

Wright had an impressive day for RCB, rushing for 89 yards on 16 carries. He also caught three passes for 17 yards, including a 4-yarder for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Matt Godrey led the Eagles in receiving with four catches for 85 yards. RCB's top receiver, Migel Lockett, was held to five catches for 24 yards.

Robert C. Byrd finished the year 7-4.