There was a time when Noah Martens envisioned himself as the next Demaryius Thomas. He even wore No. 88. But then he quickly realized that wide receivers don’t get the ball all that often.
He immediately switched to running back, and he’s been there ever since.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound senior transferred to Evergreen High School from Summit a year ago in need of a fresh start. He said he wasn’t sure what he was getting himself into, but he was accepted in his new surroundings with open arms.
He asserted himself quite well, rushing 80 times for 487 yards and six touchdowns in 2019.
“There were a lot of seniors here, so I knew that I had to do something to prove myself,” Martens said. “I just kept working and that paid off in the end. I definitely think that I proved myself to the boys who were here last year and that are here this year.”
The second that head football coach Matt Van Praag saw Martens, he knew that he had someone special.
“We thought that we had a running back,” Van Praag said. “… We felt like he brought that element that we were kind of missing.”
Martens just might be the key cog of what has the potential to be a potent offense for EHS with senior quarterback Griffin Lauritano at the helm and receivers Carter Cassin and Danny Schneider leading the air attack.
“He is. He really is,” Schneider said of Martens being the catalyst of the Cougars’ offense. “He’s probably just as big as Griff if not even bigger. Griff is a really good player, too. I’m really glad he’s back. But with Noah, I’m really excited Noah’s back.”
Martens was suspended for this year’s season opener vs. Palisade after being ejected from Evergreen’s 2019 season finale, but he came back to tie for a career-high with 153 rushing yards in the Cougars’ 46-8 win at Thompson Valley on Oct. 17. It marked his fifth career 100-yard game, but he knows that there’s more left in his tank.
“I think I can definitely do a lot better,” Martens said. “I wasn’t satisfied with that performance at all. I didn’t even realize I had rushed for that many yards.”
He topped that in Friday night’s 41-14 win at Battle Mountain, rushing for 250 yards and two scores, while adding three catches for 23 yards and another TD.
Be it rushing, receiving or blocking, Martens does and is willing to do it all. It’s his focus to get better at every facet of the game instead of being one-dimensional.
He showed that in the Mountain View game, where he caught a Lauritano pass for a touchdown. That’s coming on the heels of catching 22 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns a season ago.
“He’s a big part of our passing game as well,” Van Praag said. “When he can run the ball, which is something we wanted to come in this season doing, Noah can bring that. He’s one of the better backs I’ve been around in my years of coaching. A great kid. He works his tail off. A physical leader. He’s kind of a quiet kid, but when he comes out to work, he’s here to work.”
He is, as Schneider put it, “the soul of our offense.” Nobody runs the ball quite like Wagner does, Schneider said.
“We have a good passing offense, but we need a good running offense, too, to set up the passing,” Schneider continued. “With Noah being so explosive on the field and on the ground, he’s really good at picking up yards and getting the first downs that we need.”
A self-described athlete and a leader, Martens is looking to surpass his sophomore season total at Summit, when he ran for a career-best 568 yards. There’s little to suggest – other than a condensed schedule — that he’s not well on his way to doing just that in 2020 with the Evergreen Cougars.