When Lakewood High School senior linebacker Amari Martin saw the errant pass from Crestwood quarterback Clayton Feagin coming his way late in their football game on Friday, he had a specific thought in mind.
"When I saw it coming I knew I had to …
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"When I saw it coming I knew I had to get this (interception) for the team," Martin said. "My first thought was I've got to take this to the house (for a touchdown)."
The reason that was at the forefront of his mind was because the Gators and the Knights were in a battle for two berths from Region IV in the 4A state playoffs along with Orangeburg-Wilkinson. LHS needed another touchdown in order to secure one of those spots.
That's what Martin did, returning the Pick-6 70 yards for the score that earned Lakewood the No. 4 seed from the region. Because of that and nine tackles as well, Martin has been selected at The Sumter Item Defensive Player of the Week.
Joining Martin on the selection list are Lake City wide receiver/running back as the Offensive Player, C.E. Murray center Nyzier Alston-Daniels as the Offensive Lineman and Clarendon Hall athlete Kylic Horton as the Special Teams Player.
Players are selected based on nominations from local high school coaches. Selections are made by The Sumter Item sports staff
The quartet will be honored at the weekly breakfast meeting of the Sumter Touchdown Club presented by FTC on Friday beginning at 7:15 a.m. The meeting takes place at the University of South Carolina Sumter's Arts & Letters Building.
The Citadel football head coach Brent Thompson will be the guest speaker.
DEFENSE - AMARI MARTIN, LAKEWOOD
While Martin had the notion of getting the much-needed touchdown planted firmly in his mind, Gators head coach Larry Cornelius didn't really consider the possibility.
"I didn't think he was going to be able to take it back," Cornelius said. "I was thinking about what plays we could run offensively."
Martin said he felt confident from the beginning that he could deliver the touchdown. "I was using that track speed," he said.
Cornelius said Martin has been a steady performer all season.
"He's done a really good job, been very consistent," Cornelius said. "Our whole defense played well on Friday. The three linemen were doing a good job of freeing him up so he could make tackles."
OFFENSE - AVERY HARRISON, LAKE CITY
Harrison had a 100-yard game running the ball in the Panthers' 40-39 loss to undefeated Aynor. And, oh yeah, he also had a 100-yard receiving game as well.
Harrison ran for 102 yards and three touchdowns, while catching two passes for 133 yards and another score.
"Avery been a dynamic playmaker for us the whole season," said Lake City head coach Ronnie Baker. "He has legit game-breaking speed, and he's tough to tackle in space. We try to get the ball in his hands in as many ways as possible."
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN - NYZIER ALSTON-DANIELS, C.E. MURRAY
Nyzier isn't the first Alston-Daniels to win the Offensive Lineman award. His twin brother, Nyziah, has won it twice. However Nyzier graded out at 89% with one knockdown block and had no bad snaps as center or long snapper in the Eagles' 38-12 victory over Scott's Branch.
"I thought I played really good," Nyzier said. "It was my best game this season."
He was helping open holes for Nyziah, who also spends time at running back for CEM. He ran for 152 yards and two scores on 14 carries.
"When he gets in the backfield we block extra hard for him," Nyzier said. "You can hear the other team talking, knowing he's going to get the ball, so we do the best we can."
SPECIAL TEAMS - KYLIC HORTON, CLARENDON HALL
Horton had a special game for the Saints in their 42-0 victory over W.W. King. Horton's 55-yard punt return for a touchdown was just one of three ways in which he scored a touchdown.
Defensively, Horton returned an interception 45 yards for a score to go with four tackles. Offensively, he ran for 58 yards and a touchdown on four carries, both ran for and caught a pass on 2-point conversions and completed 7 of 10 passes for 85 yards.
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