RIPLEY - Injury-free.
Of all the goals Ripley’s Jake Martin has set for himself in his senior season as a Viking football player, being healthy is at the top of the list.
After all, if Martin isn’t at a hundred percent the hopes and dreams he has set for himself this season will go out the window.
Martin had big plans for his junior season under first-year head coach David Tennant.
He was looking forward to enjoying the season with his older brother, Preston, a standout defender from the 2012 season.
But instead of the Martin brothers being out on the field together shining for the Vikings, they stood together on the sidelines…injured.
Preston was still recovering from a devastating knee injury suffered in his state championship wrestling match the previous February and had yet to be cleared to play (and never would). Following Ripley’s second scrimmage of the preseason against St. Albans, Jake found himself on the injured list with a broken leg.
“I feel like a million bucks,” said Martin during a preseason interview. Besides his broken leg, he also sustained an elbow injury in his state championship wrestling match last February. He had to settle for second in his quest for a third straight Class AAA title on the mats.
“I feel good and I feel good about this team,” said Martin, who admitted it is hard to believe he is discussing his final season of Viking football.
As a sophomore, Martin spent a huge chunk of the season behind center playing quarterback when Trevor Tucker went down with a knee injury. Tucker’s return last season allowed Martin to shift into his more natural position of running back.
Last year, Martin got back for Ripley’s final four games.
Tennant looks forward to having a healthy Martin and Tucker together on the field for an entire season.
“We are a different team with Jake,” said Tennant. “He is a definite talent.”
In four games, Martin rushed for 423 yards on 53 carries and scored three touchdowns. He also completed 4-of-8 passes for 111 yards and a TD.
“He fought and put up some great numbers,” said Tennant. “He has a lot to work with. He has great vision and a great balance.”
Martin thinks this team has the mix to surprise some people in 2014.
“We have some chemistry. We have some good skill guys and we have some good linemen,” he said.
He feels a tough 2-8 season like a year ago can help everyone grow, learn and be better for the season that lies ahead.
“Last season we had some ups and downs.”
No one was more down than Martin, who had to watch the first six games from the sidelines.
With all of his God-given gifts from an athletic standpoint, Martin is hopeful of moving on to the next level in one of his two sports.
Before he begins pondering his future, though, Martin is focused on the task at hand and helping make Ripley football a success.
Not only is he looking to make up for the time he lost last season, but also for his brother, who is now a freshman at WVU.
“It was nice to get back on the field (last year). It was helpful. I would rather have seen him (Preston) get to play, because he was a senior. I played my heart out.”
And you can bet he will again this season.
Hopefully he will get to do so injury-free.
Martin hopes to enjoy a healthy senior season
RIPLEY - Injury-free.