Coach: Bob Wager
Last season: 7-4 (6-1 in district), lost to Southlake Carroll 65-7 in bi-district
Key players: DE Myles Garrett (6-4, 245); DE Justin Hollins (6-5, 205); DB Cedric Fernandes (5-9, 165); LB Josh Watson (5-11, 190); NG O’Shea Jackson (6-1, 270); WR Micheal Wilson (6-4, 195); TE Jess Trussell (6-4, 205); QB Eric Walker (5-9, 150); RB Nick Smith (5-10, 160); OL Brandon Nickerson (5-11, 270); OL Charles Jackson (6-0, 275).
The big picture: The Warriors retool on offense this season but will field a defense that will counter rival Arlington Bowie. The Warriors forced 18 turnovers last season and a big reason was the emergence of defensive end Myles Garrett. A top-rated college prospect, Garrett returns after recording 66 tackles last season, 17 of them for loss. At the other end spot is transfer Justin Hollins, another sought-after prospect who moved over from Arlington Grace Prep. The Warriors secondary had 11 interceptions last season and returns speedy defensive back Cedric Fernandes. The Warriors were stout in district play last season, giving up an average of 203 yards through six games. The seventh, though, proved the most damaging, as they gave up 567 yards in the district title game against Bowie. The Warriors followed that with an early exit in the playoffs after Southlake Carroll rolled up 605 yards in a bi-district loss. The Warriors will rely on sophomores on offense. Sophomore Eric Walker gets the quarterback reins and Nick Smith, who had 429 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman, will take over the running back duties. That leaves senior Michael Wilson to handle the primary receiver spot. He caught eight passes last season for 137 yards.
Quotable: “There’s a handful of things that we’ll hang our hat on year-in and year-out. We will never vary on speed and tempo. We’ll play extremely fast and physical.” — Coach Bob Wager
“All summer coaches reminded us that if we were tired or thought it was hot, how painful would it be to lose to Southlake Carroll like we did last year. It’s in the back of our minds, I feel like we didn’t respond well to how quickly they jumped up and scored on us. Against Bowie, we just let their quarterback run around and make plays. Our coaches spend upwards of 90 hours during the season, coaching, going over game film and breaking everything down for us. They prepare us, and it’s up to us to execute the game plan. I think at the end of the season, we’ll be remembered as a team that contended for a district title and maybe won it. We’re going to be athletic, fast and not afraid to hit you.” — LB Josh Watson
Notable: How fast are Martin’s defensive ends? Hollins has logged a time of 10.86 seconds in the 100 meters and Garrett has a 4.56 in the 40-yard dash.
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