ALEXANDRIA, Ky. -- Jake Martin is fierce.
No matter what his opponents do to try to stop him, the Bishop Brossart senior defensive lineman is going to be a force off the block and he’s likely to make a play.
“He makes it difficult to be blocked," Brossart coach Paul Wiggins said. "In a couple games, they’ve actually tried to double-team him and sometimes they get him but other times they don’t. He’s got a great burst and a great feel for where the ball is going.”
Martin leads the team in tackles with 72 and has made an area-best 8.5 sacks, according to Wiggins. He will lead Brossart (4-2, 0-1 Class 1-A, District 5) into a district game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bracken County (5-1, 1-0).
“I try to get off my blocks as quick as I can and try to make plays in the backfield to make it a little bit easier on the linebackers and everyone else,” Martin said. “Usually, I’m getting double-teamed. I just try to get off of them. I just use the moves I’ve learned in the past.”
The main job for defensive linemen is usually to occupy offensive linemen so the linebackers can make plays, but Martin is making many of the plays himself. He’s been doing it a while too -- he was second on the team last season with 89 tackles.
“He’s shifty,” senior linebacker and second-leading tackler Nolan Verst said. “For a kid his size (6-foot-2, 265 pounds), he is very fast. That’s one thing we worked on in the offseason. The kid has quick feet for as big as he is.
“It’s huge. Some guy will be running a sweep and I’ll be downfield sprinting and he’ll be right behind me. I don’t know how he catches up. He is very key to our defensive line.”
Wiggins and Verst each said Martin’s biggest strength is getting off his blocks so quickly. Yet, he maintains his gap responsibility and finds the ball.
“For the work I put in this offseason, I think I’m doing the best I can do,” Martin said.
Martin is the biggest force on a quick Brossart defense that also features a decent amount of size, according to Wiggins. The unit has held opponents to less than 10 points three times this season and the Mustangs have outscored opponents 183-139 through six games.
“We try to make as many three-and-outs as we can,” Martin said. “We make a decent amount. Our defensive line does a good job of getting in the backfield and causing havoc and our linebackers do pretty well. Our defensive backs cover pretty well, too, so we just try to get out of there as quick as we can and get the offense in to put some points on the board.”
Martin also plays offensive line and is one of the team captains. He played for Wiggins in middle school, so the coach hasn’t been surprised by the senior’s performance on the field and off, and in games or at practice.
“He joined us pretty young and grew from there,” Wiggins said. “He has been the pillar of leadership for this team this season. He is solid across the board and he doesn’t let people take plays off.”
Martin would like to play football in college and get a degree in construction management, but leading the Mustangs to a few more wins this season and a win in the playoffs are his most immediate goals.
“We’re taking steps,” Wiggins said. “This is still a young program and we’re trying to make strides every year. We‘ve got to take that next step that every program has to do as they mature along the way.”