Martinsburg wins fourth straight AAA title
WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) – Malique Watkins threw a touchdown pass to lead Martinsburg to a 9-7 win over Huntington for the Bulldogs’ record fourth straight Class AAA championship Saturday.
Second-seeded Martinsburg (13-1) extended its playoff winning streak to 16 games.
Top-seeded Huntington (13-1) has yet to win a state title. It also lost in the championship games in 1964 and 1966.
Neither team mustered much offense in cold conditions at Wheeling Island Stadium.
The teams combined to go just 3 of 22 on third down. Huntington tied a Class AAA title-game record with eight punts. Martinsburg outgained Huntington 114-25 in the first half, but the Bulldogs had minus 31 yards after halftime.
Martinsburg’s Tyler Miller blocked David Gatrell’s second-quarter punt that went out of the end zone for a safety. It was the third safety in the history of the Class AAA championship game. North Marion and St. Albans also accomplished the feat in 2007, and 1997, respectively.
Miller had a team-high eight tackles and a sack for Huntington, which was held to its lowest point total of the season.
Two drives after the safety, Martinsburg set up its only red-zone opportunity after Tory Lee won a jump ball situation and hauled in a 25-yard pass from Watkins deep in Huntington territory.
Watkins, whose eligibility was restored by the Secondary School Activities Commission in October after the SSAC had initially ruled him ineligible to compete, then threw a 5-yard TD toss to Troy Walker to extend Martinsburg’s lead to 9-0 at halftime.
Huntington’s Paden Christian had a 2-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter. He led Huntington with 54 yards.
Huntington recovered a fumble at the Martinsburg 42 with time winding down. But on fourth-and-long, Huntington’s final pass went incomplete.
Class A Championship
Madonna 24, Greenbrier West 14
WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) – Ross Comis threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, leading Madonna to a 24-14 win over Greenbrier West in the Class A championship game Saturday night.
Top-seeded Madonna (14-0) won the third title in school history and atoned for an overtime loss to Wahama last year. The Blue Dons also were state champions in 2009 and 1987.
Seventh-seeded Greenbrier West (12-2) lost in its first trip to the title game since 1991.
Comis scored from 1 yard out in the first quarter. He threw TD passes of 42 and 34 yards to Will Bowser in the third quarter for a 21-7 lead.
Cory Cox and Malik Boatwright had short scoring runs for Greenbrier West.
Comis completed 5 of 7 passes for 123 yards and ran 35 times for 129 yards. His two TD passes tied a Class A championship game record shared by nine others.
Bowser had three catches for 90 yards. His two TD catches tied a mark shared with five others.
Cox finished with 47 yards on nine carries. Boatwright rushed 25 times for 38 yards.
In last year’s 43-42 title-game loss to Wahama, Comis ran for five scores and threw for a sixth.
After punting on its first offensive series, Madonna drove 82 yards in 11 plays for the game’s first points. Comis capped the drive with a quarterback sneak with 2:47 left in the first quarter.
The Cavaliers answered with a 15-play, 70-yard drive but were unable to put points on the board after a missed 22-yard field from Derek Coryell with 7:36 remaining in the first half.
Madonna tried an onside kick to start the third quarter, but Eliot Nero caught the kick before it touched the ground and was flagged for a 15-yard illegal touching penalty, although the ball appeared to cross the 10-yard threshold.
Madonna rekicked from its own 25, and Greenbrier West started its drive at the Blue Dons 46. Six plays later, Cox ran it in from 3 yards out to knot the score at 7-7.
Comis and Bowser combined for long scoring pass plays on consecutive series to put Madonna ahead 21-7.
Boatwright’s 1-yard TD run capped Greenbrier West’s scoring with 10:03 left in the fourth quarter.
Madonna’s Matt Green kicked a 22-yard field goal with 6:12 remaining for the final margin.