October 29, 2007

Martin makes a statement

Michigan defensive tackle commitment Mike Martin was in action on Friday evening, facing what many predicted to be a tough challenge, playing at 8-1 Howell in first round playoff action. However, the contest was anything but close, with his Detroit Catholic Central squad grabbing a 38-0 victory.

"We came out in this game knowing that we worked real hard during the week and the whole season, and we were just going to do what we worked on," Martin said following the game. "The whole season has been one team, one heart. We came out as a defensive unit and did our thing.

"We knew that we had to shut them down. The first series, holding them to three and out, we knew that would break their spirits. The same thing with us. If they had come out and made a big play, we would have to step up."

To say that the Shamrocks shut down the Highlanders' offense would be putting it lightly. In a display of sheer dominance, Howell didn't run a single play in Catholic Central territory. With 18 rushing attempts, the Highlanders netted only 19 yards. Martin's play was a major reason for the success of the unit, contributing on seven tackles, and helping to rush the passer on a number of occasions.

"Honestly, I didn't think it would be this much of a blowout, because any team in the playoffs - anyone can beat anyone," he said. "You can't come out and take a team lightly. But I'm just real happy about the win."

While Martin's play on the defensive side of the ball is what earned him a scholarship offer from the Wolverines, he also had a strong game on the offensive side of the ball from his right tackle position.

"I had the first big hit on defense, and that got me real hyped up," he explained. "I was hyped up then on offense and just wanted to hit somebody. Get a pancake on every single play."

Catholic Central head coach Tom Mach had high praise for his senior captain following the game. A veteran to the sidelines, and experienced in leading teams into the playoffs, Mach noted that Martin is among the best he has had the honor of working with.

"I've been in coaching for 32 years, and I think Mike Martin is the best defensive lineman that I've seen in those 32 years," he stated. "He's fast. He's quick. He's strong. He makes plays all the way from sideline to sideline. He chases backs down. He puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback. He's just a fabulous player. And a great young man too."

A long-time fan of the Maize and Blue, Martin has followed Michigan's season closely. While the teams' struggles early in the season may have led some to question the direction of the program, the future Wolverine never lost confidence.

"I never had any doubts," he noted. "I was at the opener and everything - I was shocked because it's Michigan, but I knew they would bounce back. I know the coaching staff and players really well. I just knew they had the character come back and show them. You've just got to take one game at a time."

Advancing to the second round of the playoffs, Martin and Catholic Central will play their next game on Friday evening at Lansing Everett.

Mike Martin Photo Feature


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