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Andrew Martin, destroyer of worlds. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

One giant walking, talking bruise with an undying love for IHop pancakes.

Some football players try and do things with finesse, try and run away from their rivals, try to keep their uniforms clean.

Andrew Martin was never, ever one of those players.

“Hambone” is what you get if you build a time machine, go back to the ’50s, grab the guy who’s covered in mud and grass chunks, the guy everyone else is trying not to be hit by, then bring that dude back to modern times.

In other words, a new-school player with an old-school mind set.

Martin rarely dodged, always choosing to run right through fools instead, whether he was playing offense or defense for the Coupeville High School football team.

Hand him the ball, and the human battering ram often ran over the top of his own blockers, surging into the crowd, tearing off chunks of yardage (and sometimes ripping off opponent’s arms and legs in the process).

Martin bulldozes a would-be tackler.

Even in the open field, with no one in front of him, Martin sometimes pivoted backwards, seemingly just so he could feel the thwack one more time as he obliterated a would-be tackler.

He got in the end zone a fair amount of times, especially in big games, but all his best runs, all the plays which linger after his prep career has ended, involved slo-mo destruction.

The same was true on the defensive side of the ball, where Martin recorded tackles at a much more impressive pace than stat guys often recorded.

Rumbling from his linebacker position, or anywhere Wolf coaches plugged him into to as they employed various schemes, he was a wall of bricks.

Few got past him, no one got through him, and virtually everyone who wandered through Martin’s air space paid for it with a deep, aching burn down in their nether regions the next day.

He was a wrecker, a rumbler, a glorious throwback to a time when football players knew only one way to play the game — all-out, aggressive, and loaded for bear on every play.

Martin rose to the occasion, never more than on the night last fall when CHS football sealed the deal on its first winning season in 13 years.

Playing against 2A Anacortes, the Wolf senior rumbled for all three Coupeville touchdowns during a 27-carry, 137-yard swan song in front of his home fans.

Want to marinate in the moment one more time? Pop over to:

https://coupevillesports.com/2019/10/25/long-time-coming/

During Martin’s final season, I travelled to the team’s road games with Andy’s parents, and saw a different side to him than I might otherwise have.

After the Friday Night Lights had dimmed, after the roar of the crowd had receded, Andy would hobble back to the car, the effects of his playing style evident in how he moved, and in his good-natured description of all his various aches, pains, and injuries.

Yet, he never stopped moving forward. On the field, and in life.

Whether he was arguing for why he deserved post-game KFC, even if the nearest chicken outlet was way off the highway, breaking down every play from the game just ended, or trash-talking (in private) an opposing team player who tried (and failed) to intimidate him, Andy was a quality traveling companion.

I respect his game, appreciate the passion and grit he played with, and always found him to be quietly hilarious.

“Rest easy, little guy. Daddy will get you to the end zone and won’t let those bad men touch you.”

Off the field, the youngest member of the Martin clan was a strong student, and a talented member of the CHS band.

He also had some quality moments for the Wolf track and field squad, and could have been a beast on the basketball court like dad Jonathan, if he hadn’t needed downtime to heal his myriad football injuries.

But Andy made his mark on the gridiron, and jammed into the back of a car on the way home from games in some far-flung outpost, and that’s more than enough.

Today, his exploits, his fire, the way he lived, breathed, and (sometimes) suffered for football carry him into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

After this, you’ll find him, along with older brother Jacob, hanging out at the top of the blog, up under the Legends tab.

Bring him some KFC, sit back, and let him tell you in vivid detail what REALLY happened down there on the field, under the dog pile, away from the eyes of the ref.

Can’t write about it all, maybe, but it still makes for a heck of a story.

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   Dear KFC, this is Andrew Martin. He would happily be your celebrity spokesman, if you paid him in free chicken. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Central Whidbey remembers.

The last time the Coupeville High School varsity football team went to Vashon Island, it made history. And not in a good way.

Two years ago the Wolves surrendered a state-record 573 yards and nine touchdowns to Bryce Hoisington on a dark day in Wolf football history.

Friday night, the epic, never-ending trip to the hinterlands ended in a much happier fashion for Coupeville’s gridiron squad.

Even if the Wolves did have their bus scraped up by a wayward car on the way in, then had to wait an hour-and-a-half in the parking lot for an exit ferry to arrive.

Opening the game with back-to-back pick-sixes — Coupeville led 12-0 before taking its first snap on offense — they crushed Vashon’s spirit and rolled to a 42-7 win.

The victory, which could have been by twice the margin if CHS coach Jon Atkins hadn’t pulled back the reins, snaps a two-game losing skid for the Wolves.

Now 3-2 overall (they’ve already matched last year’s win total) and 1-1 in Olympic/Nisqually League play, they sit just a game out of first place.

Vashon, which has been outscored 248-21 this season, slid to 0-5, 0-2 and sits far removed from the heady days of Hoisington running amuck.

The game didn’t come without a few sour notes, as both of Coupeville’s top weapons, senior Hunter Smith and sophomore Sean Toomey-Stout, exited with injuries.

Smith, the Wolves top receiver, got twisted in three directions at once by Vashon tacklers while executing a running play and spent the second half on the sideline wearing a knit cap instead of a helmet, resting his back.

Thankfully, the early word is he is not expected to miss any future games.

The situation may be more dire for Toomey-Stout, the team’s leading rusher and tackler.

After scoring a pair of first-half touchdowns on short runs, “The Torpedo” took a bad hit to his ankle early in the third quarter. When the team packed up after the game, he limped out on crutches and headed off to the ER with his family.

It was a rough and tumble game all around, as Vashon also lost its best player, Connor Hoisington, Bryce’s younger brother.

Trying to pick up a first down on a fourth-and-two, he went up the middle and had his world exploded by Wolf senior Julian Welling, who came through the porous Vashon line like a semi truck with no brakes.

It was a clean, but lethal hit (the bang could be heard all the way up at the top of the stands) and Hoisington was down on the ground afterwards for some time.

He eventually was able to walk off the field, but, like Toomey-Stout, spent part of his evening in the suddenly-busy Vashon ER.

Welling’s blow was a prime example of how the Wolves played all night.

Jake Pease spent most of the game in the Vashon backfield, or sitting on the Pirate QB’s head, with one sack literally coming after he went airborne and pounced on his foe like a jungle cat unleashed.

Rattled by the constant pressure, Vashon’s signal caller threw the game away in less than three minutes.

Coupeville ended both of the Pirates first two possessions with interceptions which they brought back for touchdowns, taking all the air out of an already deflated home crowd.

On the game’s second offensive play, Smith jumped a route, snatched a wobbly ball and sprinted 45 yards down the left sideline for his sixth score of the year.

Not to be outdone, Cameron Toomey-Stout matched him on the next possession.

A pass over the middle hit a Vashon receiver in the pads and popped up in the air, where the silky-smooth Wolf defensive back was lurking.

Snagging the deflection in traffic, Camtastic skipped, whirled and twirled like a ballet dancer, avoiding five would-be tacklers on his way to pay-dirt some 40 yards away.

About the only thing going Vashon’s way was Coupeville’s surprising inability to hit on either of its first two PAT attempts, as the first one went low and the second one clanged off the scoreboard.

If the Pirates were holding out any kind of hope based on that quirk, they weren’t thinking straight, however.

When the ball finally went into the hands of Wolf QB Hunter Downes, the first quarter was almost played out, so the senior gunslinger moved quickly.

After softening the Vashon defense with a pair of passes to Smith, he rolled to his right and lofted a buttery 27-yard TD strike which dropped with a pleasing plop into Cameron Toomey-Stout’s hands as he lurked in the right corner of the end zone.

This time, CHS mixed things up, going for and converting the two-point conversion on a Smith run.

Up 20-0, the Wolves almost added more in the first quarter, and it came from a somewhat surprising source.

Senior lineman Kyle Rockwell (remember the name, cause you’ll hear it again in a sec), playing in only his second game, batted a Vashon pass into the air and came 99.4% within capturing his own pick-six.

While the ball was in the air, it pinged off of at least six of Rockwell’s body parts before falling just out of his grasp, causing his teammates on the sideline to lose their collective mind cheering for the hard-working, well-liked role player.

Worry not, Wolf fans, because while he might not have gotten the year’s most surprising interception, he returned to get the season’s first blocked punt.

With Vashon pinned deep in its own territory, the Pirate punter took the snap, swung his foot and then screamed like a little girl as Rockwell roared up the middle, punching the kick out of mid-air.

Emerging from behind his rampaging teammate like a heat-seeking missile, Wolf junior Teo Keilwitz followed the bouncing ball and landed on it in the end zone for yet another CHS touchdown.

Toss in two TD runs for Sean Toomey-Stout (one set up by a sweet 14-yard catch under heavy duress from Jake Hoagland) and Coupeville carried a 42-0 lead into the halftime locker room.

If you’re saying, but wait, I’ve been counting points throughout the story and it appears the Wolves picked up an extra one, good eye, and you’re right.

Matt Hilborn crushed PAT kicks on two of the three second-quarter TD’s, while on the final one, the Vashon line got in too quickly for him to have a chance.

Thinking quickly on his feet, holder Shane Losey pulled the ball up and lobbed a flawless spiral over the defense to Sean Toomey-Stout for a two-point conversion.

With the game thoroughly out of hand, and a running clock used in the second half, Coupeville’s coaching staff had a chance to try out some different wrinkles.

Dawson Houston subbed in for Downes at QB in the fourth and, with Sean Toomey-Stout out, the rushing load was handed to sophomore Andrew Martin.

He slammed through the line for several tough-guy gains, then broke through and went down the left side for the Wolves longest run of the night, a 28-yard bolt to daylight.

It was his “KFC run,” cause Martin, possibly the world’s biggest fan of the fast food establishment, was churning like a man who’s been told a free lifetime supply of chicken tenders has been hidden in the end zone.

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