By HARRISON HAMLET
(MARTINSVILLE, Va.) – Martinsville head football coach Bobby Martin said last week that his team’s winless record and struggles against Magna Vista were not indicative of the progress his players had made in the opening five weeks of the 2019 season.
On Friday night, Homecoming, against a Patrick County offense that has been rolling through opponents this season, Martinsville showed for three quarters just how much they had improved.
Unfortunately, by the time that improvement became apparent, the Cougars had built a lead the Bulldogs could not quite reclaim, and Martinsville fell 27-19.
“We’re trying, we’re fighting with all we got,” Martin said. “We’re going to keep fighting and I’m going to keep trying to teach our guys how to fight. We aren’t satisfied with any moral victories or anything like that. These guys wanted to win and they played the last two weeks like they wanted to win the game.”
Patrick County built a 21-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes of the game behind their running game, taking advantage of a pair of Martinsville turnovers and a number of penalties against the Bulldogs.
“We have to learn to be disciplined and quit hurting ourselves in these games,” Martin said of the early turnovers. “We just got to get better and be disciplined everywhere we go, on and off the field.”
Martinsville answered the bell in the closing minutes of the first half and throughout the second half with a balanced offense and solid defense.
Rashaun Dickerson, Javontae Manns and Zion Adams powered the Bulldogs’ offense all night, including the first scoring drive, with Adams crossing the goal line on a rush with 1:00 to play until halftime.
Martinsville recovered the ensuing onside kick and a Dickerson pass to Khalil Niblett immediately had the Bulldogs back in the red zone.
Patrick County’s defense held, however, as the clock ran out and Martinsville entered halftime trailing 21-7.
“Our defense understood how big that last stop was,” Patrick County head coach David Morrison said. “If Martinsville scores there and come back out with the ball on Homecoming night, that is huge momentum for them and something you don’t want to face, especially against a team like Martinsville. They have athletes all over the place.”
Martinsville was able to cut the Cougars’ lead to 21-13 in the third quarter and get within one score at 27-19 in the fourth quarter, but, ultimately, Patrick County’s ability to possess the ball and run the clock on the strength of 46 team rushes for 211 yards on the night sealed the win for Patrick County.
Morrison was complimentary of Martin and his team after the game.
“We knew they were going to be a really tough opponent, just from watching them on film,” Morrison said. “They haven’t had a lot of success in the wins-losses column…but this is a tough program right here and Coach (Bobby) Martin is doing things the right way. These kids are great football players down here. They’re a much better football program than people think.”
When asked if he was excited about the improvements his team has shown in recent weeks, Martin was blunt in his explanation.
“Not yet,” Martin said. “We just have to keep working. The players work hard, golly they work hard and I just want them to get some wins. Nobody knows how hard they work. People talk about them and put them down and talk about coaches and put them down, but golly they are working hard and I have their back. We’re trying to build something here and it’s just going to take some time.”
Martinsville (0-6) will travel to Halifax County (4-1) this week.
Patrick County High School 27, Martinsville High School 19
PCHS – 7 14 6 0 – 27
MHS – 0 7 6 6 – 19
7:47 – PCHS – Will Sprowl 1 run (Martin Morse PAT good)
5:59 – PCHS – Dae’Shawn Penn 7 run (Martin Morse PAT good)
3:41 – PCHS – Jonny Crowell 34 pass from Will Sprowl (Martin Morse PAT good)
1:00 – MHS – Zion Adams 4 run (Huver Jaramillo-Mata PAT good)
7:13 – MHS – Zion Adams 16 run (PAT miss)
0:40 – PCHS – Will Sprowl 7 run (PAT blocked)
5:26 – MHS – Jahil Martin 3 pass from Rashaun Dickerson (2 point try fail)
PATRICK COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL
Dae’Shawn Penn 25 for 134, TD; Carson Merriman 12 for 53; Jonny Crowell 3 for 15; Will Sprowl 6 for 11, 2TD. TOTAL: 46 for 211, 3TD.
Will Sprowl 1/1 for 34, TD.
Jonny Crowell 1 for 34, TD.
MARTINSVILLE HIGH SCHOOL
Rashaun Dickerson 12 for 63, fum.; Javontae Manns 9 for 47; Zion Adams 11 for 46, 2TD, fum.; Jahil Martin 2 for 10; Troy Brandon 1 for 9; Jeremiah Law 3 for 8; Trey Wilson 1 for 3; Privan Patel 1 for -1; Delvin Roberts 2 for -4. TOTAL: 41 for 181, 2TD, 2fum.
Rashaun Dickerson 7/13 for 90, TD; Privan Patel 1/2 for 12; Troy Odell 0/1, INT. TOTAL: 8/16 for 102, TD, INT.
Javontae Manns 2 for 47; Khalil Niblett 3 for 35; Zion Adams 1 for 20; Trey Wilson 1 for 12; Troy Brandon 1 for 5, Jahil Martin 1 for 3, TD.