CHARLESTON, W.Va. The numbers are fairly daunting, stacked one atop the other like a wall. Or perhaps a fortress.
Everyone knows that Martinsburg has won three straight Class AAA state championships and, with a playoff semifinal victory today over visiting Capital, gets a chance to become the first team to run that mark to four.
But the No. 2-ranked Bulldogs (11-1) have some other significant streaks on the line at 1:30 p.m. today when the third-seeded Cougars (11-1) pay a call to Cobourn Field in the Eastern Panhandle town.
Martinsburg has also won its last 14 playoff games and owns 34 consecutive victories against West Virginia schools. As if that isn't enough, the Bulldogs sport a 42-game winning streak at Cobourn Field. Talk about a dynasty.
All those numbers, however, haven't numbed the enthusiasm of Capital's players as they prepare for their school's first semifinal playoff game since 1999.
"That just gives us the chance to be the first team to do it,'' said senior lineman James Walton, "the first team to beat them. What they did in the past, that's in the past. This is a new year, so we look to change that record they have.''
Jaisson Dyer, another senior member of Capital's line, is also optimistic.
"It's just motivation for me, really,'' he said. "I just take all of that [in] and it amazes me that we're going to be the team that beats them, or we're the team that has the potential to beat them.''
Cougars coach Jon Carpenter didn't mention any of the Bulldogs' impressive numbers to his players this week, feeling they had enough motivation.
"We're just going to focus on us,'' Carpenter said. "Hopefully we can get our best shot ready, and if that's good enough we'll be OK. We're not going to play psychology all of a sudden. We're just excited to be here and want to give it our best shot.''
Each team features several talented playmakers, but the top weapons are Martinsburg senior quarterback Malique Watkins and Capital junior running back Kashuan Haley.
Watkins, despite missing two games, leads the Bulldogs in rushing (1,688 yards, 19 touchdowns) as well as passing (850 yards, 14 TDs). He carries 21 times per game, completes 59 percent of his throws and has been sacked just five times and thrown only six interceptions.