The Southlake Carroll Dragons will face the Martin Warriors in a regional semifinal game on Christmas Eve Thursday, Dec. 24 at Globe Life Park in Arlington at 7:30pm. ET. and if Martin wins it’ll advance to the regional finals for the second time in school history. There, the winner of Euless Trinity and Allen awaits.
The Martin (Arlington, TX) varsity football team has a neutral playoff game vs. Southlake Carroll (Southlake, TX) today @ 7:30pm ET. This game is a part of the “2020 Football State Championships – 2020 Football Conference 6A D1 ” tournament.
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GAME PREVIEW AND KEY NOTE
In the 15 seasons under Wager the Warriors have never missed the playoffs. This year’s team is 10-1, marking the eighth time Wager has led Martin to double digit wins and the seventh time he’s made it to the third round of the postseason.
But it’s here, aside from 2011, where Martin’s season usually ends, leaving it as a perennial winner on the cusp of something bigger. Despite strong programs across the district, no Arlington ISD teams usually find themselves beyond the third weekend of the playoffs each year.
Arlington is the only Arlington ISD program that’s won a state title, coming back in 1951 when it was the district’s only school.
This year’s Martin team, however, could be the one that breaks through. If it does, it’ll be the culmination of over a decade’s worth of lessons, and an example of a team from a multi-school district that’s bridged the championship gap with some of the state’s best programs.
Last week that was on full display as Martin beat Lewisville 68-0. Martin’s best players played a plethora of different positions: starting quarterback Zach Mundell returned punts; sophomore Javien Toviano — “An Under Armour All-American kind of player,” Wager said — played wildcat quarterback, running back and on defense; Texas signee Morice Blackwell didn’t come off the field until there was no doubt who the winner would be.
All of those players were also members of a group called the “line touchers,” Wager said. They were players who used to come to Martin at young ages and participate in strength and conditioning drills years before they’d do it as members of Martin’s football program.
Blackwell remembers being 10 years old and competing in relays. He also remembers going up to Wager and asking if he could play for the varsity then and there. He figured he was putting in the work, so he could play with the best.
Years later, the mentality is applicable not only to him, but the entire Martin team.
The truth is Martin has been good enough to play with the best, but beating the best the state has to offer over and over again is not easy.
No Arlington ISD team has been close to a state title since the days of legendary coach Eddy Peach, who led Arlington Lamar to the state semifinals in 2000 and 2003, as well as the state title game in 1990.
History has shown it isn’t easy for teams from multi-high school districts like Arlington ISD — which has five 6A schools and one 5A Div. II school — to make it to the state title game. If Martin gets past Carroll this week, the Warriors would still have to win two more games. Possible opponents include Allen, DeSoto or even Duncanville, the state runner-up the last two seasons.