WHEELING, W.Va. - No one else had ever won four straight championships in Class AAA football before, but then again no one like Martinsburg's senior class had ever come along before, either.
The Bulldogs seniors made it a perfect four for four Saturday with a 9-7 victory against top-seeded Huntington, giving them state titles in all four of their years at the Berkeley County high school.
Martinsburg thus snapped the record it had shared with Charleston High School, which captured three AAA crowns in a row from 1968-70. The AAA division was created in 1958.
"Those exact words,'' said senior lineman Eric Davis, "we've done something that nobody's ever done before.''
Senior quarterback Malique Watkins, who was selected as his team's MVP, was bubbly about being able to hoist four fingers after the game.
"Four out of four, all four years,'' Watkins said with a big smile. "It feels so good, every year in high school having a state championship ring in football. Everyone gunning to beat Martinsburg, but we did it. And it feels so good.''
Snow way to go
It's debatable whom the playing conditions affected more in Friday's AA game, but there's no doubt that Wayne faced a difficult challenge trying to move downfield in the final minutes of a 14-13 loss to Bridgeport.
The Pioneers took over at their own 10 with 4:59 left and had to drive the length of the field on a turf surface covered with 2 to 3 inches of slushy snow.
Wayne's passing game, which totaled nearly 1,500 yards during the season, was certainly compromised at the end.
"It is what it is,'' said Pioneers coach Tom Harmon. "We've learned to live with the field conditions the way that they are, and I'm not sure [how much it mattered]. People can look back at this game as a one-point game and say it's this or it's that, but we're not going to do that. We know our kids gave us a supreme effort, and theirs did, too.
"There were a few mistakes but in the end you play in these conditions and there's probably going to be some things that happen. We weren't able to do some of the things we wanted to do, but we're not going to use that as an excuse by any means.''
Wayne led 21-10 in first downs and held a nearly 2 to 1 edge in total yards, but its solid defensive effort wasn't enough to win.
Bridgeport ran just five plays in Pioneers territory in the second half, but it was enough to hold on to a 14-13 halftime lead.
"It probably did [affect us],'' said Bridgeport coach Josh Nicewarner. "I thought we could get to the edge on them, but it was just impossible to do in this weather. It's a credit to them - they really stopped us up front.''
Ansted still standing
One more time, Ansted has made a goal-line stand to remain in the West Virginia high school record books.