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By Tommy Keeler Jr. - firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- Martinsburg was so dominant in its 61-14 win over Handley on Saturday afternoon that even Bulldogs coach Dave Walker was shocked.
"I'm kind of speechless right now," Walker said. "I'm very surprised. Handley's got a good football team. We played extremely well."
The Bulldogs (3-0) completely dominated the game from start to finish. Martinsburg had 428 yards of total offense. The Bulldogs held the Judges to 98 yards of total offense, and only four first downs in the game.
Handley was able to force Martinsburg into a punt on its first drive, but it would be the last by the Bulldogs until late in the game.
On the Bulldogs' second possession, they used seven plays to go 78 yards for the first score of the game.
Martinsburg quarterback Brandon Ashenfelter connected with Cedric Brown for a 19-yard touchdown pass with 5:18 left in the first quarter.
The Judges (1-2) were able to keep things close for most of the first half. The Bulldogs needed only two plays to score their second touchdown. A 15-yard pass from Ashenfelter to Brown set up a 36-yard touchdown run by Justin Arndt with 4:33 left in the opening half.
That's when things began to unravel for the Judges. Handley quarterback Harrison Bayliss was intercepted by Darian Patterson at the Handley 45 with 3:58 left in the first half. Four plays later, Ashenfelter threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to David Long to give the Bulldogs a 21-0 lead with 2:40 left in the half.
On Handley's next play, a bad snap led to Bayliss being tackled in the end zone for a safety, and giving the Bulldogs a 23-0 lead.
However, the Judges seemed to get a lift when senior Jawaun Goynes intercepted a Ashenfelter pass and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown. It cut the lead to 23-7 with 2:20 left in the half, and it was the first points the Bulldogs had allowed all season.
"That was definitely good," Handley senior Derek Dowrey said. "But, we didn't capitalize on the momentum."
Martinsburg responded quickly. The Bulldogs needed only two plays to score again. Martinsburg's Chris Perkins ran for 60 yards to the Handley 4. Arndt ran it in on the next play to give Martinsburg a 30-7 lead with 1:56 left. After a three-and-out by Handley, Ashenfelter connected with Justin Clinton for a 45-yard touchdown and a 37-7 lead with 1:13 left in the opening half.
"I think Handley had pretty good coverage today," Walker said. "I think our receivers just made some great catches."
On the next to last play of the first half, Handley suffered another big blow when Bayliss suffered a head injury. Bayliss was helped off the field and taken to the hospital during halftime.
Things continued to snowball for the Judges in the second half as the Bulldogs built the lead to 61-7. Walker did show some mercy on the Judges by electing to kick a field goal on first down. Martinsburg's Tyler Dehaven hit the field goal from 37 yards out to end the Bulldogs' scoring.
Walker said he felt like they needed to work on their kicking game. Dehaven had been 0-for-3 before making that kick, and he never expected or wanted to score over 60 against Handley.
The Judges finally scored another touchdown when freshman Will Dearing connected with Kyrell Davis for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 4:11 left in the game.
Handley coach Tony Rayburn had only comment after the game.
"We're bad, and we've got to get better," he said.