Cole Martin never imagined what his role would be with the Corona del Mar High football team before his sophomore year. He just wanted a chance to make an impact.
The year was going to be his first on varsity full time. Starting on this level was the last thing on his mind.
Running with the ball, forget about it. When he played offense last year on the freshman team, he mostly blocked for whoever was the lead running back.
"I thought I would be playing every once in awhile," Martin said of when he moved up to varsity, seeing the two backs he opened holes for the year before also make the jump.
The limited action turned into a lot more snaps on offense for Martin early in CdM's season.
One tailback was out with a concussion suffered during camp, and another went down in the second game of the year with an Achilles issue. The injuries forced Martin, a linebacker, into action, of all places in the backfield.
The first game Martin really carried the load came in the biggest game in Newport Beach, the Battle of the Bay. Every emotion you can imagine, Martin said he felt it.
Heartbreak is what he and the rest of the Sea Kings dealt with afterward. They allowed Newport Harbor to score a touchdown in the waning seconds to pull out a 27-26 win.
In a way, Martin said, the loss, coming in the third game of the year, was a good one for the team. While CdM lost a close game, it gained another offensive weapon.
Martin showed he could hurt a defense with his shifty running style. He rushed for a touchdown and finished 15 yards shy of topping 100 yards on the ground.
Since then, Martin has twice rushed for 100 yards. He can also catch the ball, evident from last week's performance.
Martin opened the CIF Southern Section Southern Division playoffs making plays with his hands. He mostly watched the Sea Kings' section title run from the sideline last year, when he was called up from the freshman team.
Martin's number was called a lot last week in the Sea Kings' 35-0 win against Anaheim in the first round at Newport Harbor High. When it was over, Martin caught nine passes for 155 yards and one touchdown. He also found the end zone on a one-yard run.
The number of receptions and yards in one game are firsts for Martin on any level of football. They almost surpassed his season totals for each receiving category.
"It was a lot of fun," Martin said before praising the efforts of the team's wide receivers, Troy Reese, Chris Johnstone and Bo St. Geme. "I couldn't have done it without the wide receivers blocking [downfield]. They really helped me with getting those lanes open and running."
Martin went uncovered for most of the night. For some reason, he went unaccounted for whenever he lined up in the slot, or ran routes out of the backfield.
Seeing the defense forget about Martin didn't go unnoticed by CdM. Coach Scott Meyer said Kevin Hettig, the team's offensive coordinator, kept calling bubble passes to Martin.
The plays worked, setting up CdM's first touchdown early in the second quarter. Quarterback Cayman Carter hit Martin three times with passes, resulting in 46 yards during a seven-play, 57-yard scoring drive.
While Martin didn't get to finish the drive, he found the end zone twice in a 73-second span.
An Anaheim turnover on the ensuing kickoff set CdM up in the red zone. On the fourth play on the short drive, it was Martin scoring on a one-yard run.