While a number of players have made their impact on the school record book during Laguna Beach High’s current historic two-year run on the football field, perhaps none has done so more emphatically than senior fullback and free safety Drake Martinez.
The Breakers take on Irvine’s Northwood tonight in CIF quarterfinals at Guyer Field, Laguna’s fourth post-season home game in two years after playing only eight in the previous 75 campaigns.
Martinez has put the school’s career scoring record so far out of reach it may never be broken. Through last Friday’s CIF first round win over Anaheim’s Loara High, he had 370 points on 61 touchdowns and two, 2-point conversions. That means Martinez has all ready leaped 132 points past Donelle Darling’s total of 238, which took the ’02 grad three years to accumulate
In 2008, Martinez’s brother Taylor quarterbacked Corona’s Centennial High to a 15-0 record and a state title. The following year, he headed to Nebraska, where he currently has the Cornhuskers in the hunt for a Big 10 championship.
Martinez has always looked up to his brother and tries to follow his lead. “[Taylor’s success] shows me what hard work can do,” said Martinez. “Hopefully I’ll be playing like that some day.
With Taylor away at college, Martinez’s father, who also played college football, and mother, who had just given birth to twins, decided the family needed a change of scenery. They had enjoyed several previous summers at a beach house in Laguna, so they decided to make the town their permanent home
After a year of freshman football, Martinez was anxious to make his own mark on the gridiron with the varsity squad. He had the desire, the instincts, and the pedigree, but he wasn’t given the chance to show it. Martinez finished his first year on varsity with a handful of rushing yards, a couple of catches, an interception, and a lone punt return. “I just did my best with what I had to work with,” he said, recalling that disappointing season.
Enter Mike Churchill, the school’s athletic director who took over head coaching duties from Jonathon Todd a few months before the 2011 season began. One of the first things Churchill did was install Martinez in the middle of his offense and defense, the same schemes the veteran coach had so masterfully deployed during back-to-back CIF championship seasons with Riverside Poly in ’83 and ’84. “Drake is kind of the starting point of everything,” said Churchill, architect of a 20-3-1 record over two seasons.
With the full back Martinez pounding the ball up the middle on offense and the linebacker Martinez pounding any ball carrier who dared come up the middle of the Breaker defense, Churchill had laid the foundation for Laguna’s football resurgence. “I’m just happier than heck he’s here and not some place else,” said Churchill.
In only his second game on varsity, Martinez shredded Ocean View’s defense for 313 yards on just 15 carries, four of them for touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, he picked off a pass and returned it 39 yards for a fifth score, giving him 30 points on the night to tie the team’s single-game record.
When the Breakers scored their ninth touchdown early in the fourth quarter, Churchill decided to put an exclamation point on his young star’s night by giving his kicker a break and sending Martinez in to catch a two-point conversion pass from senior quarterback Larry Stewart.
It seemed fitting that the “team first” Martinez would end up with 32 points to break the individual record in the same game that Laguna scored 73 to set a new team standard. “I’m not doing what I’m doing just because of me,” he said. “I’m doing it because of the players around me.”
Much of the credit for Martinez’s success should and does go to Laguna’s offensive line of seniors Warren Abbate, Spencer Anderson, Blake Hester, Adam Farsheed and Bobby Weiland, among others. But it’s Laguna’s perfect storm of ball carriers that usually leaves opponents on the wrong side of a scoring surge.
Together, Martinez, senior wing back Robert Clemons and junior running back Nathan Lancaster score a touchdown every 4.7 times they touch the ball. Opponents know the TDs are coming, they just don’t know when, where, how or by whom. “We just try to score every time we touch the ball,” said Martinez. “We’re just having fun with it.”
If they can keep having fun for three more games, they will accomplish what they set out to do last season: win a CIF title. For a complete rundown of Martinez’s career records, visit www.lbindy.com.
Drake Martinez’s ongoing school records.
Career Rushing Yards: 3455
Career Rushing TDs: 50
Career Interception Returns for TD: 4
Career Total TDs: 64
Career Total Points: 388
Season Rushing Yards: 1889
Season Total Points: 200
Season Total TDs: 33
Season Rushing TDs: 27
Most TDs in a Game: 5 (tied)
Most Points in a Game: 32
Longest run from scrimmage: 95 yards
Most TD runs/returns over 51 yards: 17