DILLON, S.C. – Ty Martin has two speeds — here and gone. Defenses usually experience the latter.
How so? All second-ranked Dillon’s star running back has done is rush for 2,539 yards and 27 touchdowns.
“He can take it the distance at any time, as he showed Friday night against a very, very good defense from Camden,” Dillon coach Kelvin Roller said. “On the first play of the game, in the second half, it was a tight ballgame. I think he went 70-plus yards with it, or 60-plus yards, or whatever it was.”
Martin went a long way, nonetheless, and shifted the momentum toward the Wildcats’ way for good. As they prepare to host last year’s Class 4A runner-up, Beaufort, in this season’s 3A lower-state final at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Martin could be a factor once more.
Why is Martin’s big-play potential important? Roller, who already has Dillon state championship rings from being the offensive coordinator, explains.
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“It’s very hard to sustain long drives,” said Roller, whose Wildcats are 13-0. “You don’t find many good football teams that go eight- or 10-play drives these days. Usually, there is some big-play capability on those very good teams. When you have that, you’ve got a chance if you make a block or two.”
The Wildcats have one of the best offensive lines in the state, anchored by star recruit Josiah Thompson, so no problem there.
“Then, a guy like Ty can make a big play,” Roller said. “You’re so much better off because you don’t have to sustain eight- or 10-play drives. That’s the spark plug that Ty brings. He can take you the distance and give you that big play at any moment.”
Anytime Martin touches the ball, he’s a big play waiting to happen. Impressive for a player who also played receiver last year.
This year? He was a running back from the start.
“Ty had a great season in the weight room,” Roller said. “I think we understood as a coaching staff we needed to get him the ball. We sat and talked to him about that and that’s the reason he moved to running back so he could get his hands on the ball more often in an easier way than maybe throwing it to him out there.”
That works for Martin.
“It’s just the athleticism that really helped me a long way in being able to go from receiver to running back,” said Martin, who has rushed for an average of 195.3 yards per game this year.
He was especially motivated after Camden ended Dillon’s 2021 season in the lower-state final.
“After we lost against Camden, that following Monday we came into the weight room working hard and getting ready for the next season,” Martin said. “So, we’re having a lot of fun.”
Wildcat teammates join in like Chris McCollum (normally a tight end) and fellow running back Jamarion Fling. McCollum rushed for three touchdowns in the win over Camden.
But Martin said the real credit goes to the Wildcats’ offensive line.
“Our offensive line up front, they can do it all,” Martin said. “They break the holes open for you to run through, so it’s very easy. I just needed to learn as a running back to be patient. I’m so used to going fast on every rep as a receiver. But when you play at this position, you have to have patience and let it all form so you can hit the hole.”
Martin has impressive stats, but what he wants more is a win Friday over Beaufort to reach the state championship game.
“We’re just trying to keep the season alive; that’s really it,” Martin said. “Don’t worry about state right now. Just worry about the next game so we won’t be overthinking.”