WHEELING — Huntington High’s 2021 football team joined three of Spring Valley’s, two of Cabell Midland’s, one of George Washington’s and one of Brooke’s among the wreckage that Martinsburg left behind in the Class AAA state finals.
The second-ranked Bulldogs (13-1) rolled to a 62-21 victory over the No. 1 Highlanders (13-1) Saturday at Wheeling Island Stadium. Martinsburg’s Hudson Clement set a championship game record with eight touchdowns — four rushing and four receiving — in winning its ninth state title since 2010.
“Ezra did a really good job,” Bulldogs coach Britt Sherman said of quarterback Ezra Bagent, who completed 12 of 21 passes for 207 yards and five touchdowns as the Bulldogs rolled to 458 total yards.
Clement caught 12 passes for 175 yards and ran for 41 yards on seven carries. Eric King carried 17 times for 152 yards.
While Clement was setting celebrated records, Huntington High took dubious honors, throwing a championship game-record five interceptions and also losing a fumble.
The Highlanders were close early. Clements gave Martinsburg a 7-0 lead with a 6-yard run at 5:31 of the first quarter, but HHS quickly tied it on Gavin Lochow’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Noah Waynick with 23 seconds left in the quarter.
Clement scored on a 3-yard run on its next drive and the Highlanders responded with an 11-play, 72-yard trek that ended at the 1. Huntington High coach Billy Seals opted to go for it on fourth down rather than attempt a field goal.
“We thought we could get the ball back in good field position,” Seals said. “The tide turned after that.”
Martinsburg responded with a five-play, 99-yard touchdown drive that devastated Huntington High’s momentum and made it 20-7. Clemet scored from the 3, then after a muffed kickoff return by HHS, added a 32-yard scoring sprint by Clement to make it 27-7.
The Highlanders regained hope on their next possession, which ended with Lochow’s 29-yard touchdown pass to NaKyin Harrell, to pull within 27-14. The Bulldogs, though, answered with a 29-yard scoring strike from Bagent to Jacob Barrick with 27 seconds left in the half for a 34-14 lead.
Avion Blackwood then intercepted a pass and returned it 22 yards to the Huntington High 5. After a penalty, Bagent threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Clement for a 41-14 halftime lead.
Huntington High pulled within 41-21 on its first drive of the third quarter as Lochow capped an eight-play, 69-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge. Martinsburg, however, again deflated the Highlanders, going 66 yards in five plays with Clement scoring from the 5.
Another pick by Barrick set up a 27-yard Bagent-to-Clement scoring pass. The duo combined again for a 40-yard TD strike with 2:26 left in the third quarter.
“We won the turnover battle all year long and every game,” Seals said. “We were probably minus five or six today. You can’t do that here, and you can’t do that against Martinsburg. We gave them too many chances.”
Seals said Martinsburg’s experience in championship games likely was a factor. Huntington High hadn’t been to the finals since 2013.
“Maybe the stage got to us,” Seals said, taking the blame for the loss. “Our players played their butts off today. We’ll be back. We just have to go back and fix the things we need to work on.”
Seals complimented Martinsburg.
“They’re a heck of a football team,” Seals said. “We didn’t play well. We just uncharacteristically didn’t play very well defensively.”
MARTINSBURG 7 34 21 0 — 62
HUNTINGTON HIGH 7 7 7 0 — 21
M — Clement 6 run (Terwilliger kick)
HH — Waynick 7 pass from Lochow (Aya-Ay kick)
M — Clement 3 run (Terwilliger kick)
M — Clement 3 run (kick failed)
M — Clement 32 pass from Bagent (pass failed)
HH — Harrell 38 pass from Lochow (Aya-Ay kick)
M — Barrick 29 pass from Bagent (Barrick pass from Bagent)
M — Clement 10 pass from Bagent (Terwilliger kick)
HH — Lochow 1 run (Aya-Ay kick)
M — Clement 5 run (kick failed)
M — Clement 27 pass from Bagent (Barclay pass from Bagent)
M — Clement 40 pass from Bagent (Terwilliger kick)
First downs 19 17
Rushes-yards 35-251 32-133
Passes 12-21-0 11-25-5
Passing yards 207 185
Totals yards 458 318
Fumbles-lost 3-1 1-1
Penalties-yards 6-59 5-50
Punts 2-60.0 1-45.0
Martinsburg — King 17-152, Clement 7-41, Kendall 5-28, Bagent 3-19, Pierson 1-9, Grantham 1-2. Huntington High — Lochow 20-88, Jones 4-31, Felder 2-8, Harrell 1-5, Graves 2-3, Jackson 3-(minus-2).
Martinsburg — Bagent 12-21-0, 207 yards; Huntington High — Lochow 11-23-5, 185.
Martinsburg — Clement 12-175, Barrick 4-21, Pierson 2-11, Gedeon 3-0; Huntington High — Harrell 3-62, Waynick 3-20, Felder 2-23, Jackson 1-44, Chandler 1-30, Arthur 1-6.