MARTINS FERRY – The 100th year celebration of Martins Ferry football and the first season with artificial turf have Purple Rider fans excited. Add that the Riders are coming off of a 10-2 season and have high expectations for another playoff berth and it’s easy to see why the atmosphere was electric as they hosted Harrison Central on Friday. Central entered the contest 2-0 for the first time in school history.
Martins Ferry moved to 3-0 by dominating the second half en route to the 28-6 win. Central trailed just 7-6 at hafltime.
ith the win. Martins Ferry remains tied with St. Clairsville atop the Ohio Valley AAA standings.
Despite the second half explosion, it was the Huskies that drew first blood.
Central junior Wes Skinner hit the seam and outraced the defense for a 42 yard touchdown. The extra-point was no good and Central led 6-0 with 2:46 remaining in the first quarter.
The Riders answered in the second, when running back Rawn Driver ran 26 yards for a touchdown. Driver was filling in for starter Jeremy Murray who was sidelined with an injury.
Ahead 7-6 at the break, Martins Ferry dominated the second half.
Rider quarterback Derek Edwards capped a 12-play, 51-yard march with a TD toss to senior receiver Fred Owens.
Martins Ferry’s Patrick Allen added a TD from 16 yards out and Driver iced the game with a 46-yard scoring dash in the fourth quarter as the dup combined for 122 yards rushing on the night.
The Rider defense held the Huskies to 40 yards of passing and 79 yards rushing in the second half.
While disappointed in the loss, the game still held special meaning for Central head coach Justin Kropka. The Huskies sideline general graduated from Ferry, played for the Riders and got his coaching start under Riders head coach Dave Bruney.
“This is always a special game for me personally,” Kropka said. “Coming back here is always big for me and I’m proud to have these kids represent me at my homecoming. We have nothing to hang our heads about tonight, they had the better team. Coach Bruney has coached over 300 hundred games and I have coached 23. We will take something away from this game and keep working.”