By HARRISON HAMLET

(GALAX, Va.) – Martinsville first year head coach Bobby Martin is clear when discussing his football team: There is work to be done to improve. That was his message after a home loss to open the season, and again on Friday night after a 51-25 road loss at Galax.

“We have a lot of work to do in all three phases of the game,” Martin said. “Blocking, tackling, routes, passing, running – we have a lot to improve on and every week we try to get better.”

Travel wasn’t the issue, Martin said, but rather the strength of Galax’s program, which makes annual trips deep into the VHSL Playoffs.

“I think it’s good to play good competition so you can see where you are compared to a program as good as them,” Martin said. “We keep talking about how we need to keep fighting, get better every day. A few little things got better this week, but there are so many things that need to improve.”

Martin’s team is young, small in number and dealing with a number of injuries, making the learning process even more difficult for the Bulldogs this season.

“We have a lot of injuries, I think we have 14 guys injured. We were already shorthanded. It’s tough, but I’m going to keep working,” Martin said. “We started with 38, and a bunch of the guys who were hurt were two-way starters so when they get hurt it’s like losing two players at once.”

Now, the Bulldogs (0-2) must face an athletic Dan River (1-1) team, one that gave Magna Vista fits, at Dan Greene Memorial Stadium in Martinsville on September 13.

“Dan River has speed everywhere and their defense is really good. They played really well against Magna Vista, I mean really good,” Martin said. “The guys are trying, they’re trying to become better men and better football players and I’m working with them to help them with that every day.

“We’ve got a lot of issues we need to work on to get better. Eventually we’ll find one thing we can hang our hat on and get better from there.”