Nate Martin's and Amherst High School's football fortunes have mirrored each other.
A four-year starter, Martin and the Falcons struggled mightily in his first two seasons, securing only one Central Wisconsin Conference (Large) victory each year.
However, they nearly made the playoffs in 2007, settling for a 4-5 overall finish as Martin and the team's spread offense continued to make strides.
Amherst's last and only WIAA postseason berth was in 2001, but Martin is out to end that drought while enhancing his chances of earning a college scholarship.
The Falcons split their first four contests but have a good shot of qualifying as their only two defeats came against highly touted Stevens Point Pacelli and Shiocton by a combined seven points.
That also has helped put Martin in the spotlight, where he's garnered interest from mostly NCAA Division II programs so far, including Winona State, Minnesota-Duluth and Northern State (S.D.). He'll also be visiting North Dakota State, a Division I-AA school that has told Martin that he's No. 6 on their list of signal-calling recruits.
"I haven't gotten any offers yet, but we've sent a bunch of tapes out," Martin said. "Hopefully that will help them tell me where I'm at on their lists. I'm just waiting to see what happens."
In the meantime, the multitalented Martin—a three-year starter and leading scorer in basketball—continues to hone his skills under head coach Brian Toelle.
"We weren't very good my first couple of years," Martin said. "But this past off-season I worked a lot more on football and so I'm way better than last year. Mentally it's been a huge difference because I'm keeping calm and know what to do much better. Getting to play so much in this offense has helped me gain a lot of experience."
Despite the Falcons' trouble putting up W's, Martin passed for 1,643 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore and threw for 1,236 yards and 10 scores a year ago, earning him honorable mention and second-team all-league honors, respectively. He already had registered 10 scoring tosses through the team's first four contests this fall.
So, while he waits to see what his collegiate prospects might be, Martin keeps moving forward.
"I'm just taking it week by week in trying to win games and finally getting us to the playoffs," Martin said.