CdM's Martin packs a punch

The T-shirt with "F.I.S.T." right across the front is the one tailback Cole Martin is working on adding to his wardrobe. Each of his offensive linemen at Corona del Mar High has one.

The T-shirt is really for the big guys.

Dennis Wilbanks, the offensive line coach, came up with the T-shirt. The acronym on the T-shirt stands for "Five Is Strong Together."

The five represents the left tackle, left guard, center, right guard and right tackle. Martin is the first to tell you those five are responsible for his success whenever he runs with the ball.

Going into this week, the five paved the way for Martin to rush for 650 yards, the third-highest total in Orange County this year.

One of the five isn't with the team right now.

Coach Scott Meyer says Quinn Bassler, the left tackle, had his tonsils removed Saturday. Almost 10 hours after Bassler blocked for Martin in a game, Meyer says Bassler went into surgery.

Meyer says Bassler's tonsils bothered him for the past four weeks, but the senior wanted to play through one more game before he underwent surgery. Bassler wanted to start in the Battle of the Bay game against Newport Harbor and end the Sea Kings' six-game losing streak in the rivalry.

Bassler showed up as he always does, ready. Martin marveled at his high pain threshold. One of the linemen who got his tonsils taken out three years ago couldn't believe Bassler kept playing.

"My tonsils weren't as big as his were," says Giovanni Gentosi, a senior center. "His throat was almost closed.

"He could like barely breathe."

In the second half, the Sailors were the ones trying to catch their breaths.

Bassler helped CdM wear down the Sailors, allowing Martin to rush 33 times for 194 yards and two touchdowns in the Sea Kings' 34-14 win at Orange Coast College. When it ended, with the Sea Kings (4-0) celebrating their first Battle of the Bay triumph in seven years, Gentosi told Bassler, "Good luck."

Bassler had surgery scheduled the next morning. Gentosi knew it wouldn't be easy for Bassler to chew food after the surgery.

At least he went into the surgery with memories of Martin chewing up yards after halftime. The junior carried the ball 19 times for 132 yards and two touchdowns in the second half.

The second half is when the Sea Kings dominated, outscoring the Sailors, 27-0.

They took it to a team that used many two-way players. They never let up, not even on the Sea Kings' final drive. With the game already determined, the offense punched it in with 80 seconds left.

Martin found the end zone on a six-yard run. The late score irked the Sailors' sideline. The line didn't care.

"We just wanted to finish them," says Brett Olson, a senior right guard.

In the previous two matchups against the Sailors, CdM failed to seal the deal late, losing by a combined four points. The line made a statement against a program that has held a huge edge at the line of scrimmage and in the Battle of the Bay series.

The Sea Kings' line isn't the heaviest. There are a couple of tall linemen, right tackle Ian Redman is 6-foot-8, but he weighs 235 pounds, and Bassler is 6-5 and weighs just as much as Redman. Olson is the lightest at 205 pounds and shortest at 6-1. Michael Pierotti, the left guard, is 215 and Gentosi is 230, and both are 6-2.

There's also Jack Pagliassotti, who rotated in and out of the line during the Battle of the Bay. He's 6-4 and the heaviest at 240.

Those guys make it possible for Martin to gain positive yards almost every time he carries the ball. The Sailors only tackled Martin twice for losses on runs, and through four games, only on 14 of his 103 carries has he lost yards.

Sixty-four of those rushing attempts have come in the past two weeks, in wins against El Toro and Newport Harbor. The workload has taken a toll on Martin and Meyer has given the 5-10, 185-pounder a couple days off to rest.

The lone player, Martin says, who deserves to take it easy right now is Bassler.

"Guy was willing to do anything for the team," Martin says.

Now Martin says it's his turn to do something for Bassler, who is recovering from his surgery. He planned to visit Bassler before CdM's game against Capistrano Valley (3-1) at Davidson Field on Friday.

If Martin doesn't have his "F.I.S.T." T-shirt by the time of the visit, he can just give Bassler a fist bump for helping push the Sea Kings' winning streak to 14 games.

Cole Martin

Born: June 3, 1996

Hometown: Newport Beach

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 185 pounds

Sport: Football

Year: Junior

Coach: Scott Meyer

Favorite food: Carne asada tacos

Favorite movie: "Step Brothers"

Favorite athletic moment: Helping CdM win the Battle of the Bay for the first time since 2006.

Week in review: Martin rushed 33 times for 194 yards and two touchdowns, helping CdM beat Newport Harbor, 34-14, and end a six-game losing streak in the Battle of the Bay rivalry game.

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