Martinsburg’s Harman wins Carl Lee Award

Honored as West Virginia’s top DB

Courtesy photo Martinsburg High School senior Grant Harman was named the Carl Lee Award winner as the Mountain State’s top defensive back by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

MARTINSBURG — Grant Harman has been known for his defense on the football field.

A two-time all-state player at free safety — the quarterback of the defense — for what seemed like eternity for perpetual state champion Martinsburg, Harman added “actual quarteback” to his resume for the Bulldogs as a senior.

It all worked out quite well for Harman and the Bulldogs.

Harman passed and ran for touchdowns on offense; he tackled and intercepted passes on defense.

With Harman leading the way, Martinsburg posted a third straight undefeated season for the first time in state history, produced a run to a state-record 42-game winning streak and won its third Class AAA state championship in a row.

Harman accounted for 2,363 yards combined between passing and running on offense and was his team’s most valuable player in the state championship game, largely for his offensive output.

However, it was his seven interceptions and reputation in the secondary that helped him land atop the voting for the Carl Lee Award as the defensive back of the year, as given by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

Either way, Harman succeeded.

Harman was named to the Class AAA first-team all-state team for a third straight year and was honored as a co-captain on defense with teammate R.J. Barrett, a linebacker.

“I think Grant’s the best player in the state,” said Martinsburg’s David Walker, who became the state’s winningest coach during the Bulldogs’ postseason run.

“Grant is a great player and very deserving of the accolades he gets. He works hard and has done a great job for us throughout his high school career.”

In the state championship game, a third straight finals victory by Martinsburg over Spring Valley, Harman threw for one touchdown and ran for two, hitting 123 yards as a rusher and delivering 71 passing yards.

He added eight tackles to lead the Bulldogs in their 31-7 victory.

It all added up to a most valuable player award in the championship game for Harman.

“His consistency (is his biggest attribute),” Walker said. “He’s very dependable. You know what you are going to get from him. He’s a student of the game, he watches film, he’s very coachable. He’s a team-first kind of guy. There’s not a selfish bone in him when it comes to team. You can’t say enough good things about him.

“In the ‘me’ society, where everything is ‘me, me, me,’ he’s a throwback to the purest way the game was played. He’s a breath of fresh air for a coach.”

Anthony Robbins of Class A state champion Wheeling Central finished as the runner-up for the award, and Brenton Strange of Parkersburg was third.

Harman said he won’t decide his college future until after his baseball season ends.

A 4.5 GPA student, Harman has said he could forego sports all together to concentrate on academics.

“As far as I’m concerned,” Walker said, “his future is bright, and he can be what he wants to be.”

Harman will be honored during sports writers group’s 73rd annual Victory Awards Dinner May 5 at the Embassy Suites in Charleston.