The Times West Virginian

Prep Sports

December 8, 2013

Martinsburg beats Huntington for fourth-straight AAA title

WHEELING — 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.

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