Special teams has never been such an apt descriptor.
The Arlington Martin special teams didn’t just contribute to the Warriors’ victory over Hebron Thursday night. They made it happen.
Senior receiver Jonathan Carter started things off with a bang, returning the opening kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown. That set the tone for things to come.
A blocked kick and a blocked punt followed a short time later as the Warriors built an early 24-0 lead on the way to a 33-14 victory in a non-district game at UT-Arlington’s Maverick Stadium.
“We invest a lot of time on special teams,” Martin coach Bob Wager said. “We expect to get those dividends in return.”
The first Hawks (1-1) possession started inside their own 10 and reached the Warriors (2-0) 18, but Martin senior linebacker Chris Craft blocked the 35-yard field goal try. The blocked kick return put Martin in position for a 32-yard Nick Rodriguez field goal and a 10-0 lead with 3:44 to go in the first quarter.
Hebron’s next drive stalled at its own 18. And junior linebacker Morice Blackwell blocked the punt and recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown and a 17-0 lead.
In the second quarter, the Martin defense got in on the action. Senior defensive back Mickael Carodine scooped up a fumble and raced 70 yards to the house.
“We have some weapons that can make some explosive plays, but they love to play special teams,” Wager said. “And that’s really the difference.”
Martin built that 24-0 lead without the offense registering a single first down in the first two quarters. The Hawks held the Warriors offense to minus-29 yards in the first half. The Warriors reversed that trend a bit after halftime and finished with 133 yards and seven first downs.
Hebron scored two quick touchdowns to start the third quarter. It started with a 36-yard run by Isaiah Broadway a minute into the second half. And it was followed just seconds later – thanks to a fumble recovery by the Hawks defense – by a 50-yard heave from quarterback Carson Harris to receiver Nick Frazier to cut the Martin lead to 24-14. Harris passed for 169 and a touchdown while Broadway rushed for 84 yards and a score.
But Rodriguez kicked three field goals in the second half, from 27, 36 and 37 yards to give the Warriors some late breathing room.