Kennedy Coach Mitch Olson knows better than anyone he has a special player and a special person in running back Darin Martineau. But he was concerned about sending the wrong message to his team.
So Olson made sure the photographer who came to shoot Martineau didn’t single him out. Martineau thought it was odd the photographer didn’t take him aside, but he understood Olson’s intent.
“He’s promoting senior leadership and a team concept,” Martineau said. “Last year we didn’t really have that. We weren’t really all together. We had a lot of screw-ups.”
It’s safe to say Martineau was not among the screw-ups. If he were, Olson wishes he had 100 more screw-ups like Martineau. So does the recruiter from Northwestern.
“The Northwestern guy told me Darin’s going to get recruited by him,” Olson said. “He told me they search the country for a kid like this--an academic kid with his athletic ability. He can block, he’s great catching passes out of the backfield and he’s got tailback-type moves for a kid with a fullback’s body.”
Olson said he’s not used to having a talent like Martineau who’s also an honor student.
“It’s unusual to have any sort of kid ask out of practice on Saturday so he can go to chemistry class,” Olson said.
Martineau admits he’s somewhat unusual.
“I’m not the most talkative guy out on the team and I kind of like to be by myself a lot,” he said. “I’ve pretty much always been that way.”
Olson said Martineau often will walk through campus without saying a word to anyone.
“He’s a loner,” Olson said. “One day at practice I asked him, ‘Darin, are you in your own world?’ He said, ‘Sometimes.’ ”
But Olson said no one on his team is more respected than Martineau, who carries a 4.33 grade-point average and plans to major in math and chemistry in college.
“Last year when the seniors filled out a profile, seven of the 10 said the person they most respected was Darin Martineau,” Olson said.
And who was named Kennedy’s team captain this year? The introspective, reflective Martineau, of course.
“Being the team captain doesn’t really fit my personality, I guess,” Martineau said. “I’m not really a loud kind of guy.”
But Martineau, a 6-foot, 200-pounder who will also play some linebacker, plans to make plenty of noise on the field this season. Last year as a blocking back for Charlie Marino and a part-time starter at tailback, Martineau rushed for 595 yards and averaged 4.6 yards per carry. This season, Martineau will be the man in Kennedy’s one-back offense.
“A lot more is expected of me from the media, the coaches and even my family,” said Martineau, who rushed for more than 300 yards as sophomore. “I try not to let the pressure get to me.”
But Olson said Martineau probably puts more pressure on himself than everyone else combined.
“He’s just a real intense kid about everything,” Olson said. “We’re doing drills and he finishes 30 seconds early. Instead of sitting around, he’s down there doing pushups. I’ve never had a worker like him.”
And when Martineau isn’t working on staying fit, he’s usually working on improving his GPA.
“A lot of nights I stay up pretty late studying,” he said. “It’s kind of tough sometimes.”
But Martineau doesn’t usually brag about having one of the Top 10 GPAs in school. He said he gets enough kidding from his teammates about being a bookworm.
“They always give me trouble about it,” he said, “But I’m getting used to it.”
The result of those late nights has attracted the attention of some of the nation’s better academic schools. In addition to Northwestern, California, Stanford and Rice have written Martineau.
“Darin would be fine anywhere,” Olson laughed. “You could put him in a chemistry lab and he’d be happy for hours.”
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1994 In Review
League Overall School W L T W L T Century 4 1 0 6 5 0 Kennedy 4 1 0 8 3 0 Loara 4 1 0 6 6 0 Cypress 2 3 0 4 6 0 Katella 1 5 0 1 9 0 *El Dorado 0 5 0 0 10 0
* Forfeited six games for using an ineligible player
The Empire League’s first season without Los Alamitos and Esperanza made life much easier for the rest of the teams. Century and El Dorado won four of five league games after losing three of five nonleague games. Century and El Dorado tied for the league title, but El Dorado had to forfeit its victories for using an ineligible player. Loara replaced El Dorado in the playoffs and advanced further than any Century League team in Division V competition. Loara defeated Canyon, 10-9, and then lost to El Toro, 21-3, in the quarterfinals. Kennedy lost to Foothill, 27-9, and Century was beaten by Brea Olinda, 30-6. Kennedy senior running back/kicker Charlie Marino led the league in scoring with 107 points, including 14 touchdowns. Century quarterback Stan Villanueva was the league’s MVP, with El Dorado fullback Ismail Abdullah the offensive player of the year. Loara senior defensive back Dalbert Rodriguez led the county in interceptions with nine, but Kennedy linebacker Randy Ellison was named the league’s defensive player of the year.