By JOE SMITH
Published November 1, 2006
Josh Martinez, Countryside
The senior is one of the steadiest kickers in the county, which makes him a huge asset for his team.
His leg is accurate (9-of-14 on field goals) and strong (kickoffs routinely land in the end zone).
Last week, he proved his worth in a pivotal game against East Lake. Martinez, the son of former major-leaguer Dave Martinez, booted field goals of 56, 53 and 35 yards to help the Cougars win and clinch the runnerup spot in Class 5A, District 9.
All of his kicks were made in heavy rain and his 56-yarder was 1 yard shy of Jon Peattie's school record.
"Josh was real clutch," Countryside coach John Davis said. "He had a nice wind behind him and every one of those kicks most likely would have been good from another 5-10 yards.
"Martinez didn't stop there. He also recovered his own onside kick during the game.
Quinton Newton, St. Petersburg
Newton, a star safety, called his team together last Wednesday for a pre-game pep talk:
"Everyone out here wants to be their own individual all-star instead of coming together," he told them. "This is a big game for me as a senior and the other seniors."
Newton, a 5-foot-9, 155-pound spark plug, backed up his chatter against Seminole, racking up an interception, a sack and eight tackles in the Green Devils' win, which clinched a playoff berth.
Newton "is not big at all," St. Petersburg coach Joe Fabrizio said. "But he goes full speed all the time."
Newton, the Green Devils' (4-5) leader in tackles and interceptions, switched from shutdown corner to safety this season, hoping to "get in the action.""He's pretty much our playmaker on defense," Fabrizio said. "We sneak him in on offense, too."