Marc Martin carried the ball 32 times Friday night, and the hopes of the Atascadero High football team.
With backfield mate R.J. Reusche out due to a team issue, according to coach Vic Cooper, the full workload fell to Martin.
He finished with 118 yards and a touchdown — the first touchdown scored on Arroyo Grande this year in PAC 5 play —as Atascadero lost to Arroyo Grande 24-10.
The 6-foot-1, 221-pound senior entered Friday’s game with 116 carries for 105.1 yards per game and had rushed for 11 touchdowns. Without Reusche, who has 125 carries for 812 yards and four touchdowns on the year, and the passing game an inconsistent threat, Martin was the man.
Arroyo Grande’s defensive line slowed Martin and Atascadero’s offensive line down, but as the game wore on, Martin broke off longer and longer runs. Several times, it appeared Martin was stopped and he churned for more yards with defenders hanging off him.
“Marc is kind of an inspirational leader on this team,” Cooper said, “He is a high-character kid who works his butt off all week long, not just on Friday nights, and he earns everything he gets.”
Atascadero was forced to pass towards the end of the game due to time running out, and Arroyo Grande’s vaunted secondary did what they do best, snagging three interceptions.
Martin also had two catches for 23 yards and now has 10 receptions for 100 yards on the year with one touchdown.
Atascadero (7-2, 2-1 PAC 5) faces Paso Robles next week and still has a shot to make the Southern Section divisional playoffs if they win out.
“There’s no rest, as usual, in the PAC 5,” Cooper said. “We’re gonna watch some film in the morning, we’re gonna make some fixes, and we’ll be ready to go Monday morning.”