By HARRISON HAMLET
(MARTINSVILLE, Va.) – There was a moment in the second quarter of Saturday’s home game against Dan River that the Martinsville Bulldogs looked like they might return to their historic winning ways.
After falling behind 14-0, the Bulldogs scored twice to make it 14-12. Despite an excellent effort from the defense in the second half, Martinsville was unable to maintain the momentum in a 32-12 loss at Dan Greene Memorial Stadium.
It was Delvin Roberts’ 51-yard score that got Martinsville in striking distance, but the first half saw the Bulldogs “fight” at a better level than they have all season, according to head coach Bobby Martin.
“We’re just trying to get better, that’s all,” Martin said. “And they were fighting… When I say fight, I mean getting 11 guys every snap that are playing as hard as they can play. We haven’t gotten there (for an entire game) yet on offense, defense or special teams.”
The game, moved to Saturday afternoon after heavy rain in Martinsville on Friday left the field unplayable, saw Martinsville playing three new offensive line starters after injuries during practice throughout the week.
“This week, we had a good game-plan,” Martin said. “Then on Wednesday we lost a lineman, on Thursday we lost a lineman, and Friday we lost a lineman (due to injury). That’s tough.
“You’ll hear me say the same thing a lot. We’re just trying to get better. We have a bunch of things we have to do differently…We have a bunch of injuries and we’re just trying to learn how to play football the right way and be fundamentally sound.”
When asked to specify what the Bulldogs (0-3) need to improve on ahead of their next game in Chatham (3-0), health was the major concern for Martin.
“Staying healthy is the first thing, that’s a dog-fight every week,” Martin said. “We’re trying to get prepared and we don’t know who we have healthy. We’ll come back together this week and keep getting better.”
As for Martinsville’s prospects in the remainder of the season, the first-year head coach made no bones about his position: He believes in the values he is instilling in his team as they look towards the future.
“They’re trying. We have so many deficiencies. I keep telling them that I’m not going to give up on them,” Martin said. “They’re used to people giving up on them. I’m not going to give up on them, we’re going to keep working”
Dan River 32, Martinsville 12
DR – 14 2 7 9 – 32
MHS – 6 6 0 0 – 12