On the tree-lined street in front of the Martin home where Glenn and his son, Nick, ran pass routes until sunset, a father was passing his passion for football down to his child. Those autumn afternoons and so many other memories come rushing back to Nick before each North Arlington game as he makes time to sit quietly and think about his late father.
“Right before we go onto the field for warm-ups, I talk to him,” said Nick, whose father succumbed to a heart ailment in 2003.
“I just ask him to watch over me during the game.”
Nick likes to think that his dad would have been proud of his performance Friday night.
Martin ran for 296 yards and five touchdowns on 26 carries to lead the Vikings to a 62-39 victory over Wallington and earn The Record Male Athlete of the Week honor.
He scored on runs of 70, 1, 35, 46 and 22 yards — and added a two-point conversion.
The senior stepped forward after a rash of injuries decimated the team’s backfield.
With nowhere else to turn, coach Anthony Marck asked Martin to make the switch from fullback to tailback.
“There’s a big difference between tailback and fullback, even if you’re lining up just a few yards deeper,” Martin said. “It’s a lot easier to see the holes at tailback.”
While he may have Dad’s love for football, Martin also has inherited some of Mom’s athletic ability.
Mary Alice McGovern, a softball player at Rutherford, earned The Record Athlete of the Week honor in 1981.
Martin’s success carries into the classroom.
He has a 4.2 GPA and is hoping to study engineering, whether he lands at an Ivy League school or follows his brother Glenn to Rutgers.
Also nominated: Josh Ford of Fort Lee, Elijah Bethea of Teaneck, Craig Carmilani of Westwood and Sean Violante of Elmwood Park for football; Nico Symington of Ridgewood and Brandon Baxter of Lakeland for soccer.