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Piedmont District Football: Martinsville wins second straight game
Holds on for seven-point victory
Martinsville running back Taj Taylor (33) runs in for a touchdown during the first half of the Bulldogs’ 27-20 win over Halifax County on Friday at Dan Greene Memorial Stadium in Martinsville. The Bulldogs raced to 27-0 lead before holding on for their second straight win. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Sunday, October 6, 2013
By DOUG POWELL - Bulletin Sports Writer
The script for Martinsville against Halifax County on Friday read eerily similarly to that of the one the Bulldogs followed against Dan River two weeks ago.
On Sept. 20, Martinsville lost to Dan River 32-28 after leading 21-12 at halftime and was outscored 14-0 in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs were once again outscored 14-0 in the fourth quarter, but they led by at least 21 points this time at halftime. They upped the advantage to 27-0 in the third, before finding just enough success on the ground in the second half to run out the clock for a 27-20 win at Dan Greene Memorial Stadium.
“We have to make it easier on ourselves,” Martinsville head coach Orion Martin said. “Going down the road, we can’t do that against Magna Vista, G.W. (Danville) and even Bassett and Tunstall. We have to keep getting better.”
After picking up the first win of his head coaching career last week on the road at Patrick County, Martin picked up his first win at home in front of a Homecoming crowd at Dan Greene.
His offense has caught fire the past couple of weeks, and it was firing on all cylinders from the opening kick Friday night.
Martinsville (2-4) scored on its first two possessions as quarterback Brandon Carter capped off an opening six-play drive by finding Shaq Tinsley for a 30-yard score.
“The way my offensive line is playing, I have no choice but to feel comfortable in the pocket,” Carter said. “Everything I do I owe to the offensive line.”
Carter went back to Tinsley on the second drive and found him for a 64-yard gain on a drive that started at the Bulldogs’ 16.
The big pass play set up a 20-yard touchdown run by running back Taj Taylor, and the Bulldogs had a quick 14-0 lead in the opening quarter.
But the momentum that Martinsville quickly built came to a halt with a scary-looking injury to offensive lineman Marquise Martin.
“He got hit in his neck, and they’re more worried about his shoulder,” Orion Martin said. “He said he felt a pop. The last I heard is that he was up laughing and he was going through x-rays. I think he is going to be fine, but we were just going on the safe side.”
The game was stopped for nearly 30 minutes as Marquise Martin had to be placed on a stretcher and taken to the hospital. According to Martin the injury was a “bad stinger.”
The Bulldogs offense struck again on the first play after the injury as Carter took an 11-yard run to the house to put Martinsville up three scores and plenty of time left in the half to do more damage.
“He went from not wanting to play quarterback to probably one of the best quarterbacks in this area/region,” Martin said of Carter. “He’s the team leader for us and he is doing a great job.”
Martinsville forced a badly-thrown Tyler Stephens interception, recovered a botched Comets’ punt and forced a turnover on downs. However, the Bulldogs were unable to put any points on the board before half even with the Comets’ (0-5) miscues.
“It’s always hard for us to finish so that is something that we are going to have to work on,” Carter said. “When we have a big lead we need to punish teams.”
After dealing with one lengthy stoppage, the Bulldogs had to deal with another 30-plus minute delay because of their halftime Homecoming celebration.
The Bulldogs shook off the rust and turned an eight-play drive — all on the ground — into six points as Martin gave some love to his backup tailbacks in the second half, Marquise Waller and Montarius Hodge.
Hodge punched in a four-yard touchdown run with the Bulldogs running a heavy wishbone attack for most of the second half.
“It’s something that’s affective and you keep the clock moving,” Orion Martin said. “Physical pound game and we like it. It’s a good changeup for our offense.”
It was clear Martinsville just wanted to run the clock out and grind out a win, but the plan started to backfire as the Comets’ offense started to finally warm up.
It wasn’t the prettiest game for Halifax County quarterback Tyler Stephens. He struggled with bad snaps from his new starting center, and was having to run away from the Martinsville pass rush most of the night.
“They did a good job of taking away our perimeter and our top passing game,” Halifax County head coach Michael Roark said. “We had to make some adjustments and go from there.”
Some of Stephens’ pass attempts could’ve been considered prayers as he threw at least four Hail Mary passes hoping for one of his receivers to come down with the ball. He did find wide receiver Roland Brandon for the Comets’ first touchdown finally in the third quarter from 18 yards out.
The score kind of ignited the Halifax County offense and it scored consecutive touchdowns in the fourth quarter — one coming after successfully recovering an onside kick that was botched by a Martinsville up-man.
The Comets elected to kick it deep only down a touchdown, hoping to for the Martinsville offense into a quick three-and-out.
It didn’t happen, however, as the Bulldogs stuck with its running game and marched 51 yards to the Halifax County 14 before giving the ball back on a missed 31-yard field goal.
The Comets got the ball back with 25 seconds left but was unable to get the tying scoring leaving them winless on the season.
“They fought hard and won the second half,” Roark said of his team. “But now its (our) homecoming and we can win out the last five and that’s the mentality we have to play with and play each week one at a time and see if we can make something happen.”
Halifax County 20
MHS 14 7 6 0 — 27
HCHS 0 0 7 14 — 20
MHS — B. Carter 30-yard pass to S. Tinsley (R. Jordan kick) 8:37
MHS — T. Taylor 20-yard rush (R. Jordan kick) 6:31
MHS — B. Carter 11-yard rush (R. Jordan kick) 9:08
MHS — M. Hodge 4-yard rush (R. Jordan kick failed) 7:44
HCHS — T. Stephens 18-yard pass to R. Brandon (I. Schafler kick) 4:09
HCHS — T. Stephens 5-yard rush (I. Schafler kick) 7:52
HCHS — T. Stephens 1-yard rush (I. Schafler kick failed) 6:22
Rushing — MHS: B. Carter 16-103 TD, T. Taylor 11-96 TD, M. Hodge 11-93 TD, M. Waller 6-18, Z. Hairston 4-5; HCHS: R. Brandon 11-98, D. Richardson 1-33, T. Stephens 19-20 2 TD, R. Jacobs 1-13, R. Windsor 1-(-7).
Passing — MHS: B. Carter 10-15 116 TD; HCHS: T. Stephens 10-20 169 TD.
Receiving — MHS: S. Tinsley 3-103 TD, D. Dillard 1-10, T. Taylor 1-8, D. Dickerson 1-0, Z. Hairston 1-(-2), S. Price 3-(-3); HCHS: R. Brandon 2-39 TD, T. Brown 1-33, R. Windsor 3-29, R. Jacobs 1-26, J. Garrett 1-(-2).