High School Football

Martin outlasts Arlington to remain undefeated in district on emotional night at UTA

Martin quarterback Zach Mundell (6) attempts to avoid the tackle of Arlington linebacker EJ Higgins during the first half of Friday’s game at UTA Maverick Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Oct. 18, 2019.
Martin quarterback Zach Mundell (6) attempts to avoid the tackle of Arlington linebacker EJ Higgins during the first half of Friday’s game at UTA Maverick Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Oct. 18, 2019. Special to the Star-Telegram

Proving it’s not how long you have the ball, but what you do with it, the Arlington Martin Warriors defeated their crosstown rival Arlington High Colts 21-3 in a District 4-6A contest Friday at Maverick Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas Arlington.

The Colts (5-2, 2-2) had the ball on two drives, one to start the game, and one that took the clock down to the final half minute, that used up 14 minutes and 45 seconds in time of possession. Yet, they managed no points on either.

In all, Arlington had the ball for just under 30 minutes, compared with just over 18 for the Warriors (6-1, 4-0) who remained tied for first place in district with Arlington Bowie (6-1, 4-0). The teams meet in the final game of the regular season for both on Thursday, Nov. 7, also at Maverick Stadium.

Martin is 4-0 in league play for the first time since 2015.

The Colts fell into sole possession of fourth place in district, a game behind Arlington Lamar (6-1, 3-1). Those teams also meet on Nov. 7 at Cravens Field on the Lamar campus.

Martin quarterback Zach Mundell gave the Warriors the lead for good on a 5-yard run just under three minutes into the second half. Then, the Colts fumbled on the first play of their next possession, and Martin’s Trevell Johnson fell on the ball at the Arlington 2. Four plays later, on fourth-and-goal at the 1, Julian Johnson powered in for a 13-3 Warriors lead.

Arlington’s nightmare third quarter continued on the next possession as a 20-yard loss on a fumble was followed by a bad snap on a punt that sailed out of the end zone to give Martin a 15-3 lead.

After barely having the ball in the first half (six minutes), the Warriors held the ball for almost nine minutes in the third quarter.

Arlington once again controlled the ball for the vast majority of the final quarter (almost nine minutes), but it was Martin that put the only points on the board. Mundell connected with Alonzo Banks for a 16-yard touchdown.

The Warriors came into the game outscoring their opponents by an average of 44-15, including 53-5 in district. Arlington entered having outscored its opponents by an average of 48-16 overall and 54-12 in district. The Colts had twice topped the 70-point barrier and Martin had scored at least 33 points in each of its games.

But this night was nothing close to what folks must have expected.

The first half ended with a 3-0 Arlington lead via a 29-yard field goal by Cooper Hicks on the final play of the second quarter. It came after the Warriors fumbled a punt at their own 46 and the Colts recovered.

The Colts took the opening kickoff and used almost eight minutes of the clock and 17 plays, driving to the Martin 22 before being pushed back to the 37 and punting. The second long drive, in the fourth quarter, ended with a sack, one of six by the Martin defense.

Defensively, both teams had solid nights. The Colts held the Warriors to a single first down in the first half and six in the game, along with 138 total yards. Martin limited Arlington to 10 first downs and 113 total yards, including just 5 on the ground on 39 carries.

The evening also included a tribute to late Grand Prairie police officer A.J. Castaneda, who was killed on June 7 when he was hit by a car while he was running radar on the President George Bush Turnpike. The Grand Prairie Police Department set up a benevolent account for donations for the family, raising almost $50,000.

Castaneda was a student in the Arlington ISD before attending high school in Tolar. He played football for the Rattlers and was coached by Bob Wager, who is now the Martin head coach.

A jersey with Castaneda’s end-of-watch badge on the sleeves and his name plate on the back were on sale throughout the game at the Martin spirit trailer. Martin players wore the same jerseys that were sold, donated by BSNSports. Also, both teams had decals of Castaneda’s end-of-watch badge on their helmets.

Grand Prairie police chief Steve Dye and Arlington police chief Will Johnson presented the Castaneda family one of the jerseys, framed, before the game. Castaneda’s autistic son, Elisha, was an honorary captain during the coin toss.

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