ALBRIGHT: We should be able to avoid 84-0 in the playoffs
Change is hard, but in this case it is necessary.
Are you listening, WVSSAC?
Hopefully, Bernie Dolan and company felt the winds during an opening round playoff game Saturday from Cobourne Field.
Precious gates can be locked up.
This was just ugly.
And it was cruel.
I challenge anyone to tell me straight faced this is how any season should end.
Class AAA top-seeded Martinsburg romping largely untouched to an 84-0 halftime lead over No. 16 Preston should have been avoided. Second-half quarters being shortened to six minutes, in the playoffs, should have been avoided. This game all together should have been avoided.
Seinfeld’s George Costanza yelling “Signals, Jerry, signals” at the SSAC playoff meeting last Sunday wouldn’t have been out of place.
Look at the facts, folks.
Dave Walker’s Bulldogs define dominant, especially against in-state teams and especially this season.
There’s nothing nice to call a 56.4-point average margin of victory, sorry.
Wins including a 57-14 triumph over quarterfinal qualifier Musselman.
The fifth-rated team in the classification couldn’t stay within 20 points.
I am not even going to factor in the other five games on the schedule.
Martinsburg, quite simply, doesn’t do upsets.
The Bulldogs win (53rd triumph in-a-row as a matter of fact) and as we have established they do so handily.
Keep in mind we haven’t talked about Preston, yet.
The Knights’ 4-6 final mark with wins over teams at a combined record of 7-33 really is the closing statement to this argument.
Teams with losing records have made the playoffs three of the last four seasons and fared about as well as Preston.
Everyone knows where this is going, of course.
Things got bad in a hurry on Saturday.
Orange-and-black clad special teamers and defenders put on a blitzkrieg. Two blocked punts and a kickoff return for a score put this game out of reach before Walker’s offense even touched the playing surface.
Martinsburg’s O ran just 12 offensive plays in the first half.
What did they do?
Oh, they just picked up 244 yards and scored whenever they had the ball.
What did Preston do?
Well, the Knights ran 37 plays for negative-2 yards.
Walker was correct in his postgame comments. You can’t expect your defense and special teams to score like they did.
But fans and coaches of both teams knew Martinsburg’s offense would score like it did.
How does a sixteen seed compete with this kind of talent?
There exists zero 84-0 halftime speeches a coach can give players.
Where is the hope of sport? David conquering Goliath?
How would a twelve seed deal with this type of talent?
This observation was extremely hard to write.
I am sure the young men in Preston are great human beings.
But, there cannot be 16 teams in the Class AAA playoff field.
Not now and not if the Martinsburg dynasty ever falls off the rails.
I know Dolan enjoys giving his speech to a full room at the SSAC postseason meetings Sunday mornings during the football and basketball playoffs.
He loves congratulating everyone for making it and calls the postseason a ‘special time.’
But I ask … What was special for Preston? The entire state knew this outcome’s arrival was imminent.
The Dominion Post sports editor Sean Manning responded appropriately to the halftime score on Twitter.
His caption simply read, “Yeaahhhh.”
I want it to be known the cause of this column shouldn’t fall on Martinsburg.
But when is the last time the sixteen or fifteen seed gave serious challenge to the top two seeds?
No. 3 Spring Valley and No. 4 Parkersburg South rolled as well.
Leave AA and A alone, but eight teams is plenty in the top classification, of 28 groups, in our state.
What would it take?
Fans can flood the SSAC with phone calls. Speak up and let your voice be heard.
And before you say it won’t work, remember this … We have the four-class test run in basketball because people spoke out.
Voicing displeasure should get the ball rolling, but for now ….
Shame on anyone who says it is okay for these blowouts to happen for money.
Contact Joe Albright at email@example.com.