As Scott Martin begins his run for public office, one question preoccupies the local high school football scene.
If elected, will he serve … well, continue to serve as Ohatchee’s head coach?
The short answer is, yes.
Martin, who has revived Ohatchee football in his four years on the job, has announced a campaign for Calhoun County Commission. He’ll run against Eli Henderson for District 3 after Don Hudson announced he won’t seek re-election.
Martin said he has no doubt he can coach and hold public office.
“I would not have entertained this had I not had administration and my superintendent and people that are higher up than I” supporting his decision, he said. “County commissioner is a public job, but you do not have to be a career politician.”
Qualifying for candidates for local elections ended Feb. 9. The primary election is June 5 and the general election Nov. 6 … around the first and second rounds of the high school playoffs.
Martin came to Ohatchee from Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa in 2014 to be close to his eventual wife, attorney Shirley Millwood, whom he met while playing in the Sunny King Charity Golf Classic. District 3 includes Ohatchee, as well as Wellborn, West Oxford, Eastaboga, Coldwater and the Anniston Army Depot.
Expect Martin to do well in Ohatchee, at least. He’s gone 25-20 in four seasons at Ohatchee, including 20-5 with playoff berths the past two seasons.
The 2016 Indians had the school’s best season since 2001, going 12-2 and reaching the Class 3A semifinals. They did it in a Class 3A region that saw all four playoff qualifiers reach the quarterfinals, and both Ohatchee losses came against eventual state champion Piedmont.
Ohatchee overcame the loss of 16 seniors plus running back Jesse Sellers to a season-ending knee injury to finish 8-3 in 2017.
Ohatchee will return most of its skill-position players next season, including quarterback Grayson Alward and running back Dominique Thomas. Losses on the line will make the Indians small up front, but reclassification bumped them down to 2A.
Martin has coached for 32 years in Louisiana and Alabama.
“I’m not giving up coaching,” he said. “There’s a passion there, and it hasn’t gotten old.”
As for the coming election, he said he’ll handle it like a postgame handshake with the opposing head coach.
If he wins, “I’ll be very humble and excited,” he said. “If I’m not the person, then I’m going to support the person that is. That’s just the way I’ve always been.”
Keeping up with Kevion
Samford basketball coach Scott Padgett attended Oxford’s 6A sub-regional victory Tuesday night to watch son Logan play for Homewood, but he also coaches a native son.
Kevion Nolan, who helped Sacred Heart win three consecutive Class 1A state championships, is rounding out his freshman season with Samford, averaging 3.6 points in 25 games, including one start. Padgett said he likes Nolan’s progress.
“Like most freshmen, he’s still trying to learn things and learn the system,” Padgett said. “Early in the year, we were a pretty deep team at his position, but we’ve had some injuries at his position, and he’s been able to get some minutes, and he’s started to make the most of it.
“What he does a really good job of is, he can shoot it, and he can pass and handle the ball. He’s a threat on all levels on offense, and he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.”
Padgett said he’s “most pleasantly surprised” with Nolan’s “competitiveness on the defensive end. That’s a testament to Sacred Heart. Those guys played really, really hard.
“You look at him, and he’s really thin and all of that, but he doesn’t back down from anybody.”
The state wrestling tournament starts today at Huntsville’s Von Braun Center, with Oxford and Cleburne County headlining the local contingent. Oxford has won the 6A state duals this season and last and looks to defend its 2017 traditional state title. Cleburne County finished second to five-time defending 1A-5A champion Arab in last year’s state tournament and this year’s duals.
Both teams won their Super Sectionals last week.
Alexandria finished third at the South Super Sectional last week and qualified eight wrestlers for state, led by two-time state champion Christian Knop. Also headed to Huntsville are Aden Whitaker, Jaden New, Kaleb Matthews, Fletcher Swindall, Dakota Medders, Aaron Whitaker and Skylar Payne.
Sectional champions Cody Souder and Caleb Allison will lead Weaver’s group of four qualifiers, which also includes Taylor Thompson and Caleb Russell.
Piedmont’s Christian Doss, Logan Smith and Evan Cooper qualified. Saks’ Jordan Brooks and Thomas Brown made it, as did Wellborn’s Brock Thrash.
Calhoun County’s two first-year programs got three wrestlers to state. White Plains’ David McClure and Jacob Briggs qualified, as did Pleasant Valley’s Wesley Harrell.
From surrounding areas, Ranburne will send Bailey Henry, Spencer Jordan, Damon Calhoun, Carson Hall and Ben Buchanan. Lincoln’s Austin Creamer and Dazhoen Finley qualified.
—The Calhoun County tennis tournament is March 2-3 at Oxford Lake.
—The county baseball tournament is March 9-12, with March 13 as a rain date, at Choccolocco Park.
—The county boys and girls soccer tournaments are April 5-7 at Choccolocco Park.
—The county girls golf tournament is April 6-7 at Anniston Country Club.
—The county track meet is April 9 at Choccolocco Park.
—The county softball tournament is April 10-13 at Choccolocco Park.
—The county boys golf tournament is April 13-14 at Cider Ridge.