Northwest football: Martin finds a good fit
The only way Steve Martin intended to vacate his position as the Heights defensive coordinator was if the right kind of job came along. And when Weston Schartz left Northwest after 10 years to return to West, the decision to apply was easy.
"When I was looking (for a coaching job), I told (Heights coach Rick) Wheeler that Id leave for the right job. I believe this is it," Martin said. "You look at the current roster, and you think you can hit the ground running . Its one of the City League schools that you look at that has had so much talent over there. Its a scary opponent. We knew at Heights that we would always get a good game. Looking at the talent, theres some things you could do in Year 1. Its not a rebuilding job by any means.
The offense has the kind of talent that opposing defenses must take note of, especially in the backfield. Northwest continually churns out top running backs, but for the first time, juniors Deron Thompson and Christian Sanders, along with sophomore Karol Williams, will be coming out of a no-huddle, spread offense. Theyve got the speed, athleticism and physicality that will be extremely dangerous in an offense designed to create space.
Thompson, a track athlete who struggled with a hamstring injury in the spring, is at full strength. He rushed for nearly 1,000 yards during the 2011 regular season.
We think Deron will have a breakout year . He can run outside or inside, and he doesnt shy away from going inside, Martin said. Hes a very dynamic runner who is a home-run threat when he touches the ball.
With the spread offense, Northwest will depend on either Chris Hughes or Erin Gaither at quarterback. The Grizzlies plan to pass, but Martin noted that Hughes and Gaither must also be another running back.
We want to utilize that, Martin said. You can see the option game is back with the success at Hutch and Heights. It gives you another person you have to key off of. And when you have a quarterback who can run the ball, it makes the defenses job a lot harder.
The offensive line returns four of five starters, including senior twins Kyle and Alex Lee. They dominated the line next to each other as juniors, but Martin plans to put them on either side of center Bryce Morgan.
Down in the trenches, thats where it all starts, Alex Lee said. Were not the biggest line, but what we lose in size, we make up for in speed. Its a good combination. (The new offense) is good for the offensive line that we have.
Martin had hoped to platoon, but Northwests numbers arent as high as they need to be and there isnt as much depth as hed like. That is mostly true on defense, where linebacker Dakota Dilsaver will be a key, along with Anthony Cotton, who moved from safety to the defensive line, and Brylan Donaldson, who is at defensive back.