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Jeff Vorva's Extra Point: Playoff hope helps Martinez cope

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

 

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A few thoughts from a busy weekend in high school sports:

No joy of a postseason football win or even a state title will replace the sorrow he faced when Alex Martinez’s father, Richard, died suddenly at age 48 on Oct. 8.

But the senior QB said that being able to play the sport has eased things a little. He has helped lead the team to four wins including Friday’s 41-34 victory over Rich Central in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs Friday night in Burbank.

“All the guys rallied around me during a tough time,” Martinez said after the game. “This was really a big win. It helps take your mind off of everything. Just playing out here and playing football with your best friends is great.’’

The Vikings won their first game playoff game since 1993.

When Martinez entered the doors of the school for the first time, he said this type of season was something he hoped for.

“Every eighth grader who plays football dreams of coming to high school and playing in a state championship or a state playoff game,” he said. “Now we’re on a track to do it. Survive and advance. That’s our motto. We have to come out every game for however long we have and get it done.’’

(SUBHEAD) What in the heck was Notre Dame thinking?

I have made it a point in my long career not to criticize high school coaches for their decision making.

But for Pete Carroll’s sake, I am still scratching my head about Niles Notre Dame’s decision not to push Marist back in the closing minute of Friday night’s Class 8A game.

The Dons declined a penalty what would have put Marist a third-and-goal situation at the 18-yard line. That gave Marist a fourth-and-goal at the 5. Sophomore Tom Gillen kicked what turned out to be the game-winning field goal with 35 seconds left in a 17-14 win.

My guess is that ND was hoping for Marist to score quickly and the Dons still had a half a minute to play with to try to tie or win the game. They were in deep trouble, that’s for sure.

But the Dons’ defense held the powerful Marist offense from scoring a ton of points. Maybe if Marist makes another penalty or loses yardage or even stays at the 18, you are looking at a 35-yard kick. I like my odds a lot better for overtime in that scenario.

Oh, well, the Dons’ decision helped us keep another one of our area teams alive.

(subhead) How bad was it?

The rainy, cold and muddy conditions at Katherine Legge Park in Hinsdale at noon on Saturday was described by some as “bad” and “really bad.’’

Sandburg coach John O’Malley went one step further.

“This was the worst,” O’Malley said. “Given the course we were running on and the temperature—I would have rather it snowed. But these guys have run through everything in practice – if it’s negative 2 out they are still out there. There is no indoor track at Sandburg and it it’s a day, we’re running. They don’t think anything of it.’’

No one was making excuses. O’Malley and senior Chris Torpy pointed out that everyone in the meet had to run in the same conditions.

But they were tough conditions.

“I was getting water in my eyes and stuff kicked up in my face,” Torpy said. “But after a while, you don’t even notice it. It’s cold and your muscles are a little tighter. But every runner here had to go through it.’’