MARTINSBURG — After four-plus years, four state championships and 57 consecutive games, Martinsburg football’s epic, historic win streak at last came to an end on Friday night.
Friday night’s 22-20 loss to Spring Valley was the first hurdle Martinsburg has failed to clear since the 2015 playoffs. It was also a measure of sweet revenge for Spring Valley, which Martinsburg blew out three times in state championship games over the course of the Bulldogs’ four-year stranglehold over West Virginia high school football.
“Happy for my kids,’’ said Spring Valley coach Brad Dingess. “That was a big weight on our back.’’
The Timberwolves (2-0) became the first West Virginia team since 2007 to win at Cobourn Field, narrowly fending off a furious Martinsburg comeback that nearly erased a two-score deficit in the final minutes of the game.
Spring Valley did it with a relentless power rushing attack — with multiple offensive linemen standing over 6-foot-6, and two tight ends over 6-4, Spring Valley had size that would be the envy of some college teams, and the Timberwolves used it on Friday night.
The Timberwolves and Bulldogs (1-1) traded scores for much of the night, with Spring Valley taking an early second-quarter lead on a 9-yard rushing touchdown by Brody Brumfield. Martinsburg’s Naieem Kearney answered minutes later with a 26-yard scoring burst of his own.
Martinsburg missed a chance to take the lead at the half when Kearney had another scoring run called back due to a holding penalty, which eventually led to a turnover on downs.
It wasn’t the only brutal turn of events for Martinsburg. In its first drive of the half, quarterback Peyton Curry fumbled the ball inside Spring Valley’s 10-yard line, leading to a Timberwolves drive that ate up nearly the entire third quarter. Cole Diamond plowed in from 1 yard out to finish it off on the first play of the fourth quarter, and then converted a 2-point try to make it 15-6 Spring Valley.
But Martinsburg didn’t go away. Kevon Warren burst 54 yards on the first play of the ensuing Martinsburg drive, and Kearney finished things off with a 10-yard score one play later. Diamond was back in the end zone a few minutes later, making it 22-13 Timberwolves with just over four minutes to play, so Martinsburg needed some magic to keep the streak alive.
The Bulldogs nearly got it. Warren led a touchdown drive that put Martinsburg within two points with just over two minutes remaining, and sophomore Roman Pierson recovered the ensuing onside kick to give the Bulldogs hope. But a false-start penalty on a fourth-and-2 pushed Martinsburg back, and Curry’s pass fell incomplete to seal the game.
Spring Valley only threw two passes the entire game. The second one, a 34-yard connection from Jack Roy to Jace Caldwell, came on a crucial fourth down that kept the Timberwolves’ final drive alive.
Spring Valley leaned on its power running game, led by Diamond, who topped 100 yards and scored twice on 22 carries. Brumfield had 72 yards and a touchdown and also broke up Curry’s final pass at the end of the game, while Caldwell provided 52 rushing yards.
Warren, who spelled Curry on and off at quarterback, broke off most of Martinsburg’s big plays and ran for 164 yards and a touchdown. Kearney made the most of his six carries, going for 62 yards and two scores, while Curry was 5 of 14 for 52 yards passing.