SEBRING, Ohio (WKBN) – The Sebring Trojans with a 3-5 record and 1-2 in the league probably won’t win the ITCL’s Blue Tier championship. And their chances of qualifying for the OHSAA playoffs are slim at best, but the Trojans boast one of the best players in all the ITCL.
That player is senior running back and linebacker Nate Martin. Martin currently has rushed for a league leading 1,208 yards with a chance to break the rushing mark of 2011 Sebring graduate Dakota Wagner of 1,478 yards.
“Yeah, that was my personal goal was to reach 1,000 yards,” Martin said. “Because I never got it in high school. The last time a reached it was in eigth grade I think. So it’s a good feeling to get it in high school, especially in my senior year.”
For Martin, he is proud, but is quick to point out that it has a lot to do with his team mates and coaches for him to be leading the league in rushing, “It makes me proud of all the hard work that I have put in over the years. It also goes to show how much the school’s football program has changed over the years because honestly without that my rushing yards wouldn’t be what they’re at right now. It just goes to show that everyone is working together.”
“Nate brings a lot of heart and passion, he loves the game of football,” Trojans coach Scott Springer said. “He brings a lot to the entire program. He’s also our leading tackler. I don’t remember other than one game since he was a freshman that he ever missed a game. He’s a work horse. He never gets tired, he never quits trying, he never complains.”
As coach Springer mentioned, Martin leads the Trojans with 61 tackles on the season. 15 of those have been for a loss, two were quarterback sacks, while also forcing 2 fumbles and recovering one for a touchdown.
“I move him around from inside linebacker to outside linebacker. I put him at defensive end on just certain plays just to get a pass rush out of him,” Springer said of his defensive flexibility.
“I had the coaches come to me and say you know your the player that everyone looks to when things go wrong. They want you to be the one who makes the big play and I have accepted that, but I wouldn’t say they have put (everything) on my shoulders. Since we have a decent sized senior class everyone has their part,” Martin explained.
“He’s a very gifted young athlete. His future looks bright,” Springer said proudly. “Nate, even though he is undersized, but if a coach gave him a chance they would see what he is really about. He plays a lot bigger than he really is. He’s strong, he’s fearless.”
Martin is listed in the Sebring program as a diminutive 5’7, 155 pounds, but has played much bigger that his program line. He would also gladly give up all those on field stats for the Sebring team to be more successful on the field.
“There have been break downs we have had throughout the season, but it just shows that we haven’t given up. We’re going to play this game (at McDonald Friday night) like it is any other game. We’re going to finish this season giving 100 percent,” Martin proclaimed.
“He’s a great quality kid, but there are a lot of kids here like that,” Springer said. “He’s a team player. It’s not about him. It’s about whatever he can do to help the team win. If he’s not getting the ball, he’s out lead blocking. He’s looking for something to do. He doesn’t get intimidated, and he doesn’t play dirty. I’ve seen him level a kid and then turn around and help him up. And I have seen him get leveled and then turn around and help the kid up who leveled him and pat him on the helmet telling him nice hit.”
“He leads by example. I really think he brings everybody else’s level up higher because they see how hard he works. They know he is doing everything he can to help and they need to contribute. He just leads by example a lot. I’ll miss him,” Springer admitted.
Springer concluded with how fortunate he has been to have Martin as a player, “Your blessed as a coach to have a kid like that. I’ve had the privilege of coaching him and I know there are a lot of coaches in the league that wish they had him. If they really knew him like I do, they would really want him. Not just based on his ability, but what he brings to the table.”