It’s hard to imagine where the Kentucky Warriors would be this season without Snook Martin. In seemingly every game, Martin has stepped up to make a game-changing play. In Saturday’s game against the Cincinnati Blue Devils, he recorded two interceptions and returned a punt for a touchdown in the Warriors 41-0 route.
If it weren’t for an unfortunate stroke of fate, the Warriors’ wouldn’t have Martin to lean on this season.
After a stellar senior season for the Huntington Highlanders in 2005, Martin’s future seemed clear and bright. He had accepted an offer to play collegiality with the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on a full scholarship and was invited to play in a high school All-Star game. Though his college coaches advised him not to play, Martin jumped at the chance.
“They told me not play in an All-Star game,” Martin said. “I went ahead and did it and blew out my knee.”
All of a sudden, Martin’s bright future became extremely clouded. Martin’s knee injury was so severe, he was forced to take a year off. Eastern Kentucky quickly pulled its scholarship offer, leaving him without a team. With no other offers, Martin joined Division II Glenville State, where he played for two years.
Martin thought his football career was over after college ball. For five years he lived without football, but in the back of his mind, he always wanted to give it another shot.
“I’ve loved this game since I’ve been small. Since I was six years old, I’ve been playing this game,” Martin said.
He got that chance in 2013 when a friend from Huntington told him about the Warriors. He came and tried out, and hasn’t looked back since.
The Warriors are glad he gave football another shot. After Saturday’s game, Martin is tied for the team lead with seven interceptions and ranks third on the team with 54 tackles. Though he plays sparingly on the offensive side of the ball, he’s scored three touchdowns this season and has been vital in the return game.
When he’s not on the football field, Martin works as a counselor for the Marcum Terrace Boys and Girls Club in Huntington.
“To be honest, I just like seeing those kids be there. That area is rough,” Martin said. “I just like to see them smile.”
But the boys and girls he mentors at work aren’t the only children in his life. He keeps his two sons close to his heart at all times with a pair of tattoos of their footprints. His girlfriend and sons have attended all of his games for the Warriors this season.
“I love that. Just turning around and seeing them watching the game, it’s a great feeling,” Martin said.
With all that he has accomplished this season, Martin has just one goal: the Northern Frontier Football League championship. The Warriors’ loss in last season’s championship game still bothers Martin to this day.
“To be honest, at the end of that game it was very hostile, very crazy environment. It put people down, but got us ready for next season,” Martin said.
With a win this Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Dublin Jerome High School in Columbus, the Warriors will get a chance for redemption.
Alex Hider can be reached at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931 or on Twitter @PDTSportsWriter