Oswego East rallies past West Aurora
Christian Martyn has played on both sides of the ball consistently this season for Oswego East, but he has been far from the number one option in the offensive backfield.
On Friday night, though, the Wolves needed him to step up into that role. And the Oswego East senior answered the bell in a big way.
Martyn carried the ball 39 times for 238 yards to propel the Wolves to a 14-13 comeback victory against West Aurora to keep their playoff hopes alive.
"I knew this team was going to do everything it could for me, so I had to do everything I had to do for them," Martyn said. "Our playoffs started [tonight]."
West Aurora (5-2, 1-2) jumped out to a 13-0 lead early in the ballgame thanks to quarterback Mason Atkins' 158 passing yards in the first half. He connected with Mason Powers for a 29-yard touchdown and Terrence Smith for a 65-yard touchdown. After an explosive first half, the Blackhawks' offense went dormant.
Late in the second quarter, Oswego East (3-4, 1-2) concocted an 80-yard touchdown drive (68 of which were Martyn rushing yards). All 14 plays were rushes, and sophomore QB Niko Villacci put the finishing touches on the drive with a 1-yard "tush push" sneak up the middle.
Martyn did not care that he was not the one to punch it in. He was just happy to get the points.
"I'm not worried about the touchdowns for my personal gain," Martyn said. "I'm worried about the team wins."
Martyn would get his chance to get in the end zone late in the game. Neither team had scored since the first half, both teams turned the ball over on promising drives and both teams missed opportunities down the field. Finally, Martyn hit pay dirt to end the dry spell.
Starting at the Blackhawk 47-yard line with 4:30 on the clock, Martyn knew it was time to take over.
"I just had the mentality that this ball was going in the end zone no matter what," Martyn said. "I don't care who's in my way, I am getting into the end zone."
Martyn rattled off a 27-yard run (his longest on the night) to get the Wolves inside the 10. On the very next play, Martyn punched it in from 7-yards out for his only touchdown of the night.
Keeping the ball between the tackles was a part of the game plan all week.
"We felt [West Aurora] had struggled stopping the power run," Oswego East coach Tyson LeBlanc said. "We tried making that an emphasis in practice this week."
After Martyn's touchdown to give the Wolves the lead, the Blackhawks still had a chance. With 2:11 to play, there was still plenty of football to play, until there wasn't.
The Wolves squibbed the ensuing kickoff, and the ball found its way into no man's land, allowing an Oswego East player to hop on the ball. Martyn had a chance to ice the game.
Martyn rushed the ball three times on the final drive totaling 22 yards to put it out of reach.
West Aurora knows it has some weaknesses to address going into its last two games.
"We tried [to adjust]," West Aurora coach Nate Eimer said about containing Martyn. "These next two teams are going to run the ball. Everyone's found the formula."
After a promising start to the game for Atkins, he completed just one pass in the second half.
"[Oswego East] shrunk the game," Eimer said. "We thought we'd come out and run the ball, and we did it at times, but we made some mental mistakes."
Atkins finished 8-13 for 167 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
LeBlanc was pleased with the fight his team showed.
"We're banged up just like everyone else," LeBlanc said. "Nobody made excuses and we came out and competed."
Eimer does not want his team to lose sight of what they can still accomplish this season.
"You've got to remember we were a 1-8 football team last year," Eimer said. "We were hoping to chase the conference title, so that was tough on the kids tonight, but we've still got a chance to chase six wins and chase seven wins."
The Wolves must win out to be playoff eligible, but they think they have what it takes.
"I want us to make a playoff run," Martyn said. "I want us to be the underdog story."