Inside the Game: Kareem Martin

ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C. --- Roanoke Rapids and Bunn entered Friday's contest with identical 3-0 conference records. Thus, with a 24-14 victory Roanoke Rapids earned sole possession of first place in the Northern Carolina Conference.

Roanoke Rapids limited Bunn's high-powered offense to just 108 total yards and forced five turnovers. Kareem Martin contributed to the strong defensive efforts including having a part in three of the five turnovers – he recovered one of the two fumbles he forced, and tipped a ball at the line that was intercepted by a teammate.

Role

For Roanoke Rapids, Martin is most valuable on defense, where he saw every snap against Bunn.

Roanoke Rapids runs a 4-3 defense, but will line up in several different variations of the scheme.

Martin started the game at left end, but saw equal time at right end. Typically, wherever he started the drive, he would stay for the remainder of the possession. However, on three drives, Martin had to flip ends to compensate for plays being run away from him. On a couple of those plays, he lined up initially at one end but would flip to the other side of the line just before the snap, which gave the offense little time to react.

Usually, Martin was in a three-point stance, but on several occasions he would attack the line out of a two-point stance.

Martin saw roughly 15 plays on offense. For the most part, he played end in Roanoke Rapids' T formation. However, he did see a goal line play at fullback and a couple of snaps at tight end when Roanoke Rapids was in a three-wide shotgun set.

Generally, Martin was used as a blocker on offense. He was only targeted for one pass.

On special teams, Martin has a role on the field goal block, field goal, and punt block units.

Big Play

With Bunn inside Roanoke Rapids' five-yard line looking to take the lead, Martin forced his first fumble of the game.

"I saw [the quarterback] going in for the sneak and he was carrying the ball real soft, so I went in there for the strip and came up with it," Martin said.

The key to the play was Martin's awareness and willingness. The quarterback was basically going down when Martin attempted the strip. Most players in Martin's situation would have watched the play end.

A quarter later, Martin hit a ball carrier, who was running an end-around, and lifted him off the ground. During the contact, the ball was fumbled, but it took Martin a few moments to realize it.

"I thought he still had the ball, because I kept holding him up," Martin said. "When I heard someone yell fumble, I dropped him and went for the ball."

Statistics

Defensive: 8 tackles (4 solo), 4 QB hurries, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 pass defensed
Offensive:: 1 target, 0 catches

Evaluation

It wasn't difficult to find Martin on the football field, because he could easily be confused for a college defensive end. At his prototypical size, he's very athletic – which is what has attracted college coaches.

Martin plays with a lot of desire. He consistently pursued plays away from him and appears to be always looking to make the play for his team.

Martin plays with great awareness, vision, and smarts – he rarely over runs the play or falls for a fake.

As a rusher, Martin didn't show off a repertoire of moves. At the high school level, he's able to dominate with his speed and strength, but he'll have to do more against better pass blockers in college.

In the open field and not, Martin is a reliable tackler that goes for the wrap-up over the big hit. Even at his size, he gets low upon contact.

Martin is one of Roanoke Rapids' four team captains. More importantly, he acts like a captain on the field. He constantly rooted on his teammates and when a cornerback gave up a big catch, Martin picked him up and patted him as if to say "We all make mistakes."

Overheard

North Carolina assistant coach Ken Browning watched Martin's game Friday. During warm-ups, Browning spent a great deal of time chatting with Martin's head coach, Russell Weinstein.

Judging by the word around Roanoke Rapids, the feeling is Martin still is fairly open at this stage of his recruitment.

Check back tomorrow for video footage of Martin's performance.

Kareem Martin Profile


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