Arlington Martin had to travel to Midland last week, and then, on Friday, make the two-hour drive to Wichita Falls.
But even after a bout with feisty Amarillo, the Warriors loaded buses for home knowing they’d get yet another shot at the state’s best.
Martin held off the Sandies for a 56-35 win in the Class 6A Division I area round Friday at Memorial Stadium. The victory advances the Warriors (10-2) to the third round of the postseason for the second straight year, setting up a matchup next week with the winner of Saturday’s heavyweight tilt between Allen and DeSoto.
The Warriors, were lifted by sophomore running back Nic Smith. He finished with 317 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 19 carries.
“The big advantage for me was that our line did a huge job blocking,” Smith said. “It was all-around good for the offense.”
Martin scrimmaged Allen a week before losing to DeSoto 55-30 in its season opener. DeSoto also ended the Warriors’ season in last year’s regional semifinals.
“It’s why we do it,” Martin coach Bob Wager said of his prospective third-round matchup. “It’s to have an opportunity to see how much better and faster we are against the very best teams in the state and the nation, for that matter.”
But Martin first had to deal with plenty against Amarillo.
The Sandies, running a Wing-T offense, trailed 22-14 at halftime and remained within two touchdowns heading into the fourth quarter.
Their two first-half scores came on fourth-down bootleg passes from Matthew Ortega. The senior, who left with an injury in the fourth quarter, was able to snake his way through pressure from Martin on several occasions. He finished with 68 yards rushing and 221 yards passing.
Martin quarterback Tre Brown, who has filled in since starter Eric Walker broke his ankle Oct. 3, completed only two passes. But one was a 29-yard touchdown strike to Jess Trussell.
Bradrick McCuen returned a fumble on a punt snap for a touchdown for the Warriors.