By Luke Wiggs


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The 2021 season saw championship number 9 for the Martinsburg Bulldogs. The panhandle’s top team boasts more championships (5) than total losses (2) over the last 6 seasons, with one playoff campaign canceled during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Third-year head coach Britt Sherman is doing the most to push his teams to the limit filling his roster with tough competition in and out of the state.


“It’s just trying to get our kids exposure and try to even work to a more regional and national level eventually with the type of games we play.” Sherman said, “I knew we were going to have a good senior class this year so I wanted to give them a good home slate. We open up with a Virginia 4A powerhouse I think they’ve been state champs, they’ve been to the semifinals the last 9 years in Salem, then we play Sherando who has been a 4A powerhouse in Virginia as well, but then that 4th game with Highland springs, they’re a 5A powerhouse and they rattled off 3 or 4 in a row and they don’t just send guys to college they send guys to the NFL.”


The Bulldogs return both players who took snaps a season ago in senior Ezra Begent and junior Murphy Clement.


“We play a two quarterback system because they’re both really really good players, I think both of them are division 1 players.” Sherman said. “They’re different styles, Ezra is more of a pocket guy, Murphy’s more of a dual threat but both are great leaders and great teammates and do a lot to help us win.”


In the backfield, Martinsburg will be able to showcase a bevy of names. As a team, the Bulldogs rushed for nearly 3,000 yards last year.


“It will be more by committee. Xavion Kendall is more of our scat back, Eric King is more of our power running back. And we have a couple of other guys in Zion Grantham, AJ Harrison, Kam Shallis that can all give us some really good reps.”


In the passing game, Martinsburg was equally as impressive, throwing for 3,462 yards and have a receiver room of returning stars and new faces alike.


“Roman Pierson is back, He’ll be our Y and kind of our go-to guy.” Sherman said, “Then we have Kashez Gedeon and Jamir Hunter will be in the mix as well. We have 5 or 6 really good guys there that we’ll be rotating.”


EJ Hendrickson and Wes Hancock look to be returning staples at tackle along the offensive line, along with Aiden Flemming. Martinsburg may also have a star in the making in Rashod Reed who will play in the interior line on both offense and defense.


Kam Shallis, Ayden Flemming, and Ky Fagan all return as key pieces on a defense that held 6 of their 14 opponents last season to 1 score or less.


Expect to see Braden Herring and Sirod Musgrove in an increased role as well on that side of the ball.


Martinburg opens the season at home against Salem Highschool of Virginia. Martinsburg has lost just 1 time at home since 2015.