Jon Carpenter wants Kerry Martin Jr. to assert himself in his highly visible role as Capital’s quarterback. Thursday night at University of Charleston Stadium, there was no doubt Martin was in charge.
The 6-foot-2, 183-pound junior stood out in the Cougars’ 44-14 win over Riverside, running for three touchdowns and throwing for two more.
Several were big-yardage plays — passes of 33 and 46 yards to KJ Figures and a 52-yard run. The 46-yarder gave the Cougars a 21-0 lead early in the third quarter, enough to hold off a tough-minded Riverside squad.
Martin rushed for 92 yards on just seven carries and threw for 184 on 8-of-14 passing. That accounted for more than half of the Cougars’ 406 total yards.
“I’ve been trying to tell him who Warren Moon is,” said Capital coach Jon Carpenter, referring to the great NFL QB. “He was getting his confidence back. For some reason, he didn’t think he was a quarterback. I think … Good God, I think he’s a real good one.”
It could have been an even better night, but Martin had two bad breaks in a second-quarter series. First, a 34-yard TD pass to Karrion Martin was negated by a penalty, then a potential 50-yard scoring strike to Jay Fannin on third-and-26 was inadvertently broken up by an official.
Nonetheless, the Cougars (1-1) took a 14-0 lead into halftime, with the first Martin-to-Figures strike and Martin’s long run. He simply faked a hand-off, hit a wide-open hole and could not be caught.
Riverside struggled with field position in the half, partially due to Logan Spurlock partially blocking two punts. The Warriors’ best drive started at their own 9-yard line, but stalled on the Capital 20.
The Cougars took three plays after the intermission to stretch their lead to 21-0 — a 21-yard pass from Martin to Deshawn Harper, an 8-yard run and Martin’s 46-yard pass to Figures.
But Riverside (1-1) didn’t go quietly. Attempting to line up and bruise the Cougars, the Warriors rushed 60 times for 210 yards and gained 20 first downs to Capital’s 10. Their two scoring drives went 80 yards on 17 plays and 66 yards on 11 plays.
Mark Scites accounted for both touchdowns, throwing an 8-yarder to Jacob Clark and rushing 3 yards.
The Warriors even got into a jawing match with the Cougars before the game, which Carpenter didn’t mind.
“They tried to beat us before the game,” Carpenter joked. “Our guys were jawing back and forth; it went both ways. I was glad — it’s been awhile since they’ve had any fight left in them, in the beginning.
“Our guys are always talking; they’re freakin’ Alabama and all that crap. I think our guys got a little excited there and decided to play. That was good.”
Capital pulled away with a 23-point fourth quarter. Breece Hoff tackled Scites in the end zone for a 23-7 lead, and then Martin scored his second and third TD runs. With 17 seconds, reserve QB Elias Canterbury hit KJ Taylor from 55 yards to set the final score.