He’s one of the best dual threats the Central Section has seen at quarterback, a read-option dynamo because of his ability to run and throw.
He’s the Tri-River Athletic Conference Player of the Year, now The Fresno Bee Player of the Year, and he recently participated in the Under Armour Future 50 in Orlando, Fla.
Simply, that meant he’s considered by many experts to be among the best 50 underclassmen in the nation, for all positions.
He’s committed – so far – to Cal in a coast-to-coast recruiting chase that has Fresno State as “definitely a long shot” and many others in the mix, ranging from Oregon State to Colorado and Miami.
And now we sit back and await more from Adrian Martinez.
For all he’s accomplished, there’s potentially so much awaiting the 17-year-old Clovis West junior, yet considerable unknowns:
▪ Next fall, can he exceed a season in which he accounted for 3,869 yards and 41 touchdowns for an 8-4 team that placed second in the TRAC and reached the section Division I semifinals?
▪ Will he actually be responsible for more after running or throwing on 78 percent of the team’s plays while accounting for 89 percent of the Golden Eagles’ touchdowns?
▪ Will he remain true to his Cal pledge after coach Sonny Dykes, who initiated the recruiting process, was fired and replaced by Justin Wilcox?
▪ Most of all, will Martinez secure in high school football his elusive prize – the section D-I title?
And football is the qualifier in this case, because he could win a section championship in five weeks in basketball for a 21-2 team that is top-ranked in the section by The Bee.
“That’s the goal, definitely,” he says, referring to football, where Clovis West will return 18 starters, several of whom were groomed in the school’s attendance area, went unbeaten in two years at middle-school feeder Kastner and have succeeded since.
Meanwhile, the Eagles’ co-TRAC-leading basketball team has positioned itself for a D-I top seed. But for fans agreeing with Martinez’s game in hoops as an off guard with exceptional driving ability, chew on this, unfortunately: He won’t play basketball as a senior while preparing for college entrance in football.
“I want to make sure I’m ready to play football at the next level,” he says, “so I kind of consider this my senior year for basketball, and I will give it everything I’ve got.”
Back to football.
Past accomplishments are no secret for Clovis West’s Class of ’18. But that’s surely no intimidation to Bakersfield and Central, who also return many impact players from teams that finished 1-2 in D-I in the fall.
“There are quality teams around the section and they’ll be gunning for us,” Martinez says. “I know we’ll have a target on our back, for sure. Clovis West last won the Valley in 2010 and, believe me, we’re all aware.”
The awareness of Martinez is unquestioned after he completed 61.3 percent of his passes – no distance, no problem – for 2,484 yards and 25 touchdowns, and also averaged 7.4 yards per carry while rushing for 1,385 yards and 16 scores.
In a 34-28 D-I semifinal loss at Central, and against arguably the finest outfit in the Grizzlies’ 86-year history, Martinez rushed for 142 yards, including TDs of 42 and 49 yards, and completed 18 of 33 passes for 262 yards with two scores and no interceptions.
In two games within three weeks against Clovis, one of the section’s top teams, Martinez accounted for 935 yards and eight touchdowns rushing and passing in 41-27 and 42-28 wins.
“Adrian is a rare combination of brains, elite athleticism, leadership and competitiveness,” Clovis coach Rich Hammond says. “Playing the most visible and difficult position in sports, he has the innate ability to take over a game with his combination of intangibles. More than anything, it’s his grace and smoothness playing the game and off the field that makes him a once-in-a-generation type of talent.”
His own coach, Clovis West’s George Petrissans, says: “As a coach, your job is to put the ball in the key athlete’s hands, the one who makes the good decisions, right? Adrian is such a dual athlete, he’s like having another running back on the field. He’s always had great quarterback skills, but now he’s on the same page with his coaches; he knows exactly where the ball needs to go. He’s progressed from mentally taking over and having total command of the offense. We’re fortunate to have him for another year.”
And then what?
Cal? Fresno State? Colorado? Miami?
Additional colleges sure to arrive in the mix?
“I love Cal and for the school that it is,” he says. “I’ve wanted to go to Cal for the school, its academic prestige and the area, across the bay from San Francisco.
“Obviously, I made connections with the (Cal) guys who recruited me, the ones who believed in me and offered the scholarship. Now it’s just a matter of forming those connections with the new coaching staff. I want to make sure they want me, to be their guy moving forward, not just they’re taking me because I committed.
“With respect to them, I want to stay committed until I get to know them better. At the same time, I need to honor myself and make a decision fit for me. And I want to make sure that decision is right, so I’m currently evaluating that situation.”
Outstanding Offensive Player
He’s qualified because: Tri-River Athletic Conference Player of the Year, in an usually dominant performance at the position for his age, given the high-caliber of competion he faced, established school single-season passing records for yards (3,118) and touchdowns (36) and TD passes in a game (six) for an 11-2 team that won the TRAC (5-0) and was runner-up to Bakersfield in the Central Section’s Division I playoffs. He rushed for 305 yards – even while deducting sack yardage – while routinely running the offense out of trouble.
Outstanding Defensive Player
He’s qualified because: Gifted with football intelligence “off the charts,” according to now-retired Apaches coach Chuck Shidan, the 6-1, 215-pounder heads to Sacramento State as the most accomplished defender in Sanger’s 117-year history. He made 130 tackles for a 13-1 team that won County/Metro Athletic Conference and Central Section D-II titles and reached the CIF State North Division 2-A Regional Championship. The three-year starter also delivered a school-record 369 career tackles for teams that went 31-7 with three CMAC titles.
Coach of the Year
He’s qualified because: He pressed perfection in the final season of a 27-year career, going a school-record 13-1 with County/Metro and Central Section D-II titles. The Apaches lost 49-36 to Serra-San Mateo to close the season in front of a historic, overflow crowd of 7,500 at Tom Flores Stadium, a turnout that served as a tribute to the popular coach who constructed a football empire and unconditional following from the community. The Sanger graduate’s 203-111 career record (including eight league and four section championships) is tied for seventh for wins in section history. He had only four losing seasons.
co-Player of the Year
He’s qualified because: Central Sequoia League Most Valuable Player completed 63 percent of his passes while throwing for 1,860 yards and 20 touchdowns against seven interceptions, and made 35 tackles as a safety for a 13-1 team that won the school’s first section championship (D-IV) in 36 years. He completed 8 of 13 passes for 182 yards and four touchdowns in a 39-7 rout of Chowchilla for the section crown, capping a three-game playoff run in which the Bears outscored the opposition 129-10. They were then denied the CIF State Southern Regional 4-AA crown by Bakersfield Christian, 28-27, before a standing-room-only crowd of 5,000 at Staley Stadium.
co-Player of the Year
He’s qualified because: Closed three-year starting career with dominance at running back and linebacker, rushing for 1,329 yards and 23 touchdowns and leading the 13-1 team with 77 tackles. He rushed for a TD and returned an interception for a score as the Bears defeated Chowchilla 39-7 in D-IV for their first Central Section title since 1980. He rushed for 2,519 yards and 46 TDs in his career. His single-season and career rushing TD totals are second-best in school history.
Medium Schools Coach of the Year
He’s qualified because: Former deputy under Chuck Shidan at Sanger has made Selma relevant in football in only two seasons. The Bears, only nine years removed from a 34-game losing streak and rarely a Central Section factor for two decades, caught traction at 8-4 in Logue’s first season, in 2015. They then sped away last fall, holding opponents to eight or fewer points nine times and outscoring them by an average of 28.6 points overall while going 13-1 and reaching the CIF State Southern Division IV-AA Championship Bowl, where they were denied in the final minute of a 28-27 loss to Bakersfield Christian before an overflow crowd of 5,000 at Staley Stadium. Selma won the Central Sequoia League and its first section title (D-IV) in 36 years.
Small Schools co-Player of the Year
He’s qualified because: East Sequoia League MVP and Fresno Bee finalist for overall Player of the Year rushed for school records of 2,345 yards and 46 TDs as the Spartans went program-unprecedented 14-1 while capturing, league, Central Section (D-VI) and CIF State Southern California Regional (Division 6-A) titles. They were denied their first unbeaten season in a 29-28 loss in the final seconds to St. Patrick/St. Vincent-Vallejo. Garcia closed with a four-game performance (1,032 rushing yards, 17 TDs) that has few rivals in section history. That included a 420-yard, seven-TD effort in a 62-22 rout of Horizon Christian Academy-San Diego for the state regional crown. That’s the 10th-best single-game rushing total in section annals.
Small Schools co-Player of the Year
He’s qualified because: West Sierra League MVP and three-year starting quarterback closed one of the most prolific careers in Central Section history. His 88 passing TDs and 6,880 yards for teams that went 31-10 are school records and No. 5 and No. 9 in section annals. This year, he passed for 2,616 yards and a school-record 43 TDs as the 13-1 Aztecs won league and section D-V titles, and placed second to Amador-Sutter Creek in the CIF State Northern Regional Division VI-AA Bowl.
Small Schools co-Coach of the Year
He’s qualified because: His 16th season with the Spartans stirred the most electrifying four months of football in the program’s 97-year history. The tiny eastern Tulare County community attached itself emotionally to a team that went 14-1 while winning East Sequoia League, section D-VI and CIF State Southern Regional Division 6-A championships. And it took a field goal by St. Patrick/St. Vincent-Vallejo with six seconds remaining to deny Strathmore, 29-28, in the state 6-A final before a Spartans stadium-stuffed crowd of 2,800. Blackwell is 107-79 in his career.
Small Schools co-Coach of the Year
He’s qualified because: The best winning percentage for an active coach in the Central Section improved to .823 for Mejia, whose 13-1 season improved his six-year career record to 56-12 with three league and section titles. The Aztecs rolled to West Sierra League and section D-V championships in a season in which they outscored the opposition by an average of 27.4 points. Rival Firebaugh went 11-3, but two of the losses were to Mendota – 58-20 in league and 50-22 in the section final. The Aztecs had a late rally fall short in a 21-14 loss to Amador-Sutter Creek in the CIF State Northern California Division VI-AA Bowl.
The Fresno Bee Football All-Stars Jive 75
- Ryan Bacon, sr., DL, Buchanan
- Logan Fogg, sr., LB, Buchanan
- Zach Presno, sr., RB/LB, Buchanan
- Ardie Burton, sr., OL, Buchanan
- Parker Jacobs, sr., WR/LB, sr., Bullard
- Ben Baker, LB, sr., Bullard
- Johnny Mayberry, DL, sr., Bullard
- Sam Satele, sr., DL, Central
- Matt Mendoza, sr., RB/LB, Central
- Jaylon Johnson, sr., DB, Central
- Jaden Williams, jr., DB, Central
- Adrian Lopez, jr., RB/LB, Central
- Malik White, sr., WR, Central
- Brandon Ballard, sr., TE/DL, Central
- Tiago Paim, sr., K, Central
- Jacob Torrez, sr., WR/SS, Central
- Brandon Ballard, sr., DL, Central
- Dane Nelson, sr., OL/DL, Central Valley Christian
- Connor Paden, sr., RB/DB, Central Valley Christian
- Ronnie Reyes, sr., RB/LB, Chowchilla
- Seth Nevills, jr., OL/DL, Clovis
- Samir Allen, sr., RB, Clovis
- Spencer Smith, sr., DL, Clovis
- Clayton Alexander, sr., TE/DL, Clovis
- Marcus Washington, jr., RB, Clovis East
- Brent Bailey, sr., QB, Clovis North
- Erick Kroll, sr., LB, Clovis North
- D.J. Schramm, jr., LB, Clovis West
- Dusty Schramm, jr., LB, Clovis West
- Clive Truschel, sr., OL, Clovis West
- Rodney Wright, jr., WR/DB, Clovis West
- Xavier Cayetano, sr., WR/DB, Coalinga
- Tre Walker, jr., RB/DL, Dos Palos
- Jake Hanson, sr., LB, Edison
- Steve Stephens, jr., DB, Edison
- Jay Vance, jr., DL, Edison
- Tyler Palmer, jr., WR/DB, Firebaugh
- Khory Day, sr., QB/WR, Fresno
- Lee Major, sr., WR/RB/LB, Fresno
- Eli Luna, sr., OL/DL, Golden West
- Gonzalo Rodriguez, jr., RB, Golden West
- Jordan Perryman, sr., RB, Hanford
- Andrew Vorhees, sr., OL, Kingsburg
- Noah Wright, sr., OL/DL, Lemoore
- Kaleb Roth, jr. RB/LB, Liberty-Madera Ranchos
- Brett Cazares, sr., OL/DL, Liberty-Madera Ranchos
- Christian Baker, sr., RB/LB, Liberty-Madera Ranchos
- Jonah Johnson, sr., QB, Madera South
- Julian Cardenas, sr., WR/DB, Mendota
- Fabian Jasso, sr., WR/LB, Mendota
- Miguel Calderon, sr., OL/DL, Mendota
- Andy Padilla, sr., WR/DB, Orosi
- Cooper Allen, sr., DB/K, Redwood
- Kobe Garner, sr., WR/DB, Redwood
- Rudy Peralta, sr., OL/DL, Roosevelt
- Andrew Azua, sr., RB/DB, Sanger
- Nick Steele, sr., OL, Sanger
- Christian Graney, sr., WR/DB, Sanger
- Mathew Davila, sr., DL, Sanger
- Aaron Mosby, sr., DB, Sanger
- Jalen Cropper, soph., WR/DB, Sanger
- Adrian Valencia, sr., LB, Sanger
- Rudy Rodriguez, sr., RB/WR/LB, Selma
- Abraham Rangel, sr., OL/DL, Selma
- Gerod Magee, sr., RB/LB, Sierra Pacific
- Andres Lara, jr., TE/LB, Strathmore
- Marcus Hawkins, sr., RB/LB, Sunnyside
- Nate Hughes, sr., QB, Sunnyside
- Daniel Facio, sr., OL, Sunnyside
- Kazmeir Allen, jr., RB, Tulare
- Emoryie Edwards, jr., WR, Tulare
- Brian Wendt, jr., OL/DL, Tulare
- Andrew Ruelas, jr., LB, Tulare
- Nate Lamb, soph, QB, Tulare
- Andre Aguilar, sr. QB, Tulare Western
- Noah Beukers, sr., RB/LB, Washington