Prep football: Clinton breaks TD record as Martinsburg routs GW 63-14
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Dustin Crouser's first-half tweet said it all.
As the injured George Washington senior fullback and linebacker watched helplessly from the sidelines, his Patriot teammates were being overwhelmed by Class AAA No. 2 seed Martinsburg to the tune of a 63-14 final score that put the Bulldogs (12-1) into the state championship game for the third year in a row.
The onslaught began quickly, as Martinsburg quarterback Justin "Cookie" Clinton scored the game's first points on a 35-yard run with 7:37 left in the first quarter. Clinton, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior, had 157 rushing yards and five touchdowns in the first half alone, and finished the game with 198 yards and six scores.
Clinton broke a Class AAA preliminary playoff record with six rushing touchdowns in the win. The previous record of five rushing TDs was held by six different players, most recently by Morgantown's Spencer Farley in 2004, against Nitro.
"I wasn't expecting anything like that. I knew we were playing a good team and Ryan Switzer is a hell of an athlete," Clinton said of the lopsided score. "I told our defense we just have to contain him and force things to the middle, and knew my defense would be there to clog it up."
Switzer, the 2011 Kennedy Award winner and University of North Carolina commitment, found himself in a bind often, thanks to the comparative strength of a Martinsburg defensive front led by senior Eugene German. Switzer scored the 100th - and final - touchdown of his prep football career with a 14-yard run that got the Patriots on the board and cut Martinsburg's lead to 35-7 late in the first half.
He finished with 120 rushing yards on 22 carries and had four catches for 69 yards. He threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to GW quarterback Trevor Bell on a halfback option play late in the third quarter.
"They've got a good football team. I thought we were ready. I was ready, but hat's off to them," Switzer said. "They game-planned and put us in some tough situations. We didn't capitalize early, and that turned out to be the end of it."
As Martinsburg rolled up touchdown after touchdown, GW struggled to keep a handle on the ball, let alone move it with consistency. The Bulldogs outgained GW 263-110 in the first half, and bad snaps led to three fumbles. All were recovered by GW, but senior quarterback Trevor Bell had minus-20 rushing yards in the first half, and another bad snap on a punt deep in Patriot territory gave Martinsburg the ball at the 6-yard line with 10:38 left in the second quarter.
Clinton scored two plays later to make it 28-0.
Missing Crouser's physical presence - the middle linebacker was lost for the season with a torn ACL suffered in mid-October - the Patriots were also without leading tackler and outside linebacker Zach Malone. Martinsburg took full advantage, blowing the Patriots off the ball on offense throughout the game, and making it next to impossible for GW to move it if Bell couldn't find Switzer via a handoff or pass.
"We played really well, especially in the first half. Our offensive line did an excellent job," Martinsburg Coach Dave Walker said. "On defense we played well. Every time (Switzer) touched the ball I kind of held my breath, but our guys did a really nice job. We played fast today."
George Washington managed just 82 total yards that were not gained by Switzer. By comparison, Martinsburg running back Trey Boyd ran for 79 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Ohio University commitment Cedric Brown - though held to one reception for four yards - ran the ball five times for 54 yards and a 16-yard TD.
"They're big, fast, strong. They're the total package," GW Coach Steve Edwards Jr. said. "They're really good, and we didn't help matters. We didn't play well today, but they had a lot to do with it."
Martinsburg will go for its third consecutive championship against the winner of tonight's semifinal between No. 5 Morgantown (10-2) and top-seeded Cabell Midland (12-0), which is set for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff in Ona.