Warriors eager to face rival Martinsburg

Hunter Entsminger

STEPHENS CITY –Two rivals will collide again tonight in Stephens City.

Sherando will host Martinsburg, West Virginia, in what has become a very solid rivalry. The teams split their last two meetings.

The Warriors beat the Bulldogs for the first time ever two years ago at home, 21-14. Last year they lost on the road to Martinsburg, 35-28. Sherando coach Bill Hall said that, win or lose, playing Martinsburg has really helped the Warriors over the years.

“In my terms, when I think of rivalries are games that are competitive,” Hall said. “I don’t think it’s a rivalry if someone blows the other one out — that’s not a rivalry. A rivalry is two teams that challenge each other and make each other better — and that’s the way I view them. Us playing them gets us ready to be successful in the playoffs, because they’re the best that West Virginia has to offer. And they challenge us, which makes us grow.”

Hall said that the biggest thing the Bulldogs do is compete on every single play. He said that added with all their athleticism is why they’ve been able to win four state championships.

Aaron Banks

The players said that winning two years ago does help Sherando’s confidence.

“Early in the years with Sherando we never could get that win,” Sherando junior quarterback Hunter Entsminger said. “Two years ago, my freshman year, we got that first win. And it was just like ‘OK, we can beat these dudes. They’re not unbeatable.’ Now we’re just trying to continue that on and just come out with a win (today).”

Martinsburg (6-0) is averaging 53.5 points per game, while giving up just six points per contest.

Sherando senior Aaron Banks said the Bulldogs’ defense is much like their offense.

“They just got a bunch of athletes flying around making plays,” Banks said. “It should be a good game, because we’ve got a bunch of athletes too.”

Sherando (4-1) was off last week and it may have been perfect timing. The Warriors were coming off a 31-28 loss to Liberty on Sept. 22.

Entsminger suffered an injury in the fourth quarter of the game and didn’t return, and Hall said he was happy with the way the team handled the situation. Sherando junior running back T.J. Washington threw touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors still came up short.

“It was a good Liberty team, and we had to face some adversity in that situation when Hunter (Entsminger) went out,” Hall said. “But I was happy with they way they responded. When you score two times without your quarterback, kind of making up some offense as you go, I think it says a lot about the way our kids competed in a not so great situation.”

Entsminger, who is healthy again and is expected to start tonight, leads the area with 934 passing yards. Sherando junior running back T.J. Washington leads the team in rushing (556 yards and seven touchdowns) and receiving (14 catches for 251 yards and four scores). Banks also has 10 receptions for 212 yards and three touchdowns.

Payne Bauer leads Sherando’s defense with 33 tackles, while Michael Perry has 31.

Banks said that staying positive will be important for the Warriors against the high-powered Bulldogs.

“We know they’re going to make plays, but we’re going to come out and make plays too,” Banks said. “So even when they make one we just got to keep our heads up and keep flying around making plays. Go full force, four quarters.”