RIPLEY - Jake Martin is a young man you can't help yourself in rooting for. He is personable, smart, respectful, well spoken and very gifted.
The handsome two-sport star could pass for a California surfer with his relaxed attitude and easy-going nature. Don't let that fool you. The returning state champion wrestler can be tougher than a two-dollar steak when he needs to be.
On the gridiron, Martin took over at quarterback for the Vikings after starter Trevor Tucker was injured for the season and racked up over 1200 all-purpose yards for his team in the remaining seven games.
The Vikings won four of their last seven games with Martin under center, including a 7-6 victory over a ranked South Charleston squad in which Martin's scrambling ability sealed the deal late in the fourth quarter.
The sophomore proved his toughness in the "Hatchet Game" when Ravenswood's Connor Jelich put a hard hit on the quarterback near the Ripley sideline.
Martin was slow to rise to his feet but he did and re-entered the game to the roar of the Viking faithful. Ripley won the game 17-16 in overtime after a Martin to Kade Harrison touchdown pass and then a blocked extra point after Ravenswood answered with a score of their own.
On the mats as a wrestler Martin is equally impressive. He won a state championship last season as a freshman and has compiled a (58-5) overall record while going 13-1 so far this season. The championship produced a memory he will never forget.
"I just remember running to my dad (Michael, a former Viking wrestler) and my brother. I remember how happy coach Smith and coach Howerton were for me. I really like wrestling but if I had to choose it would be football hands down. I just love hitting people. I prefer playing defense but I like running the ball too," said Martin candidly.
The Dallas Cowboys fan likes to watch You-tube videos of Emmitt Smith and Tavon Austin (WVU) as a way to add to his skills as a runner.
Martin plays and wrestles along side his brother Preston who is also a standout grappler and was second on the Viking football squad in tackles in 2012. He treasures the opportunity to share athletics with Preston, a junior.
"Since we were kids we have always pushed and supported each other at the same time. We are competitive but we also pull for the other to do well," said Martin.
As a pitcher and infielder the multi-sport athlete was a member of the Ripley Little League team that played for a championship in Georgia on ESPN. Those baseball juices may be flowing again as Jake looks to play hardball this spring for coach Shane Casto.
Martin surprisingly is a fan of another sport and would play it in a heartbeat given the opportunity.
"I absolutely love playing volleyball. I think it is an awesome game. I watch and play it every chance I get. If we had a boy's team I would be out-there. I also like to golf and if it wasn't for football season I would be on the golf team."
Is Jake aware of Ravenswood's Jake Martin?
"Oh yeah. I have seen him play basketball a few times. He is a really good athlete."
That is high praise from one Jake Martin to another.