Martin led the Panthers to a 35-28 win over Huntsville last week to clinch a playoff berth. Martin completed 9 of 17 passes for 175 yards and four touchdowns, and added 92 yards and a score on 13 carries.
“It’s big. we haven’t been in the playoffs since 2007,” Martin said. “I think that was when Bronson Honeycutt was the quarterback. It is huge. I am happy that we are going to the playoffs my senior year.”
Martin led the Panthers to their second come from behind victory of the season. With 41 seconds left in the game, Martin found HD Fomby on a 33-yard game-winning touchdown.
“They called a timeout and I thought we were going to punt, Martin said. “Coach Shores was like what’s that play that you’ve been running. It is where Casey Bishop does a cross and HD (Fomby) does a post. We called it, HD was open and thank God he caught it.”
Pell City head coach David Shores said he was pleased with the way Martin responded after not playing his best in the first half.
“Austin has continued to improve from week-to week,” Shores said. “The thing about him is he may have a bad series or a bad half like last Friday, but he comes back and locks it in and gets refocused to make plays he has to make to put us in the position to win. He has done that all year. I can’t say enough about his resiliency, even when he makes mistakes he was able to come back from it and make positives out of it.”
Taylor Garrett also had a huge game in Winterboro’s 28-20 win over Wadley last week.
A week after getting knocked out the game; Taylor led the Bulldogs with his arm and his legs. The senior went 15-19 passing for 244 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 109 yards on 16 carries. Taylor was knocked out the game the week before against Loachapoka.
“I was just ready to get back on the field,” Garrett said. “We started off the game slow, then it kind of picked up in the second quarter. The line was getting a good push and when the pocket closed I had to make plays with my feet. When I made plays I had people coming back from the perimeter blocking on the outside. The line gave me a good block, which helped me pass down the field to get touchdowns. The wide receivers came through when we needed them and the running backs made plays.”
For the first time this season, Garrett was forced to throw the football to lead the Bulldogs to victory.
“It wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be having the game in my hands,” Garrett said. “I had a lot of experience last year with it and everything fell in place. When the pocket closed you step up and see if there are any receivers open. If they’re not any open you read the blocks and make plays.”
Winterboro head coach Dave Nurnberg was pleased with the way his quarterback took over the game.
“He made a lot of plays,” Nurnberg said. “He played like a senior quarterback that was able to use his experience, his feet and his good arm to make plays when we needed him.”