When Jamus Martin played for Marshall University earlier in this decade, the Thundering Herd's motto was “The Ring was the Thing.”
Martin, an all-conference performer, got three rings in his four years at Marshall. “That's not bad,” he said.
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Another championship ring might be in Martin's future as a member of the Lexington Horsemen, who have designs on the arenafootball2 post-season.
Tenth-ranked Lexington (8-5) will face the division-leading and playoff-bound Green Bay Blizzard (9-4) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Rupp Arena. A victory would put the Horsemen in a first-place tie with two games left. They would have the tiebreaker with the sixth-ranked Blizzard thanks to a 49-48 last-second victory on May 16.
“A lot of guys on the team haven't enjoyed that championship taste,” Martin said. “I don't care what kind of championship it is, it signifies you've been a great team that played together.”
Martin, a linebacker-fullback, has been a key player for Lexington. He is second in tackles, trailing William Mulder 48 to 40, but he leads the team in tackles for loss (9.5), sacks (6.5) and quarterback hits (eight).
“Jamus is solid on both sides of the ball,” Horsemen Coach Mike Harmon said. “He's certainly one of our best.”
Martin is determined to get Lexington into the playoffs.
“We have to win out, and it starts with this game,” he said. The Horsemen finish with Iowa July 19 and at Quad City July 24.
“We've been off a week, and everybody is healthy,” Martin said. “Destiny is in our hands. We can control it or give it away. The choice is up to us.”
Martin missed the first Green Bay game with an injury.
“When the game came down to the wire, guys made plays,” he said.
Lexington quarterback Eddie Eviston threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Tavon McGee as time expired to upset the Blizzard. The Horsemen were in first place briefly in the Midwest Division.
Martin soon returned from the groin injury and became a valuable player for the Horsemen after earning honors in the American Indoor Football League the last two years. He also is the career sacks leader for the Huntington Heroes.
“It's going well for me,” Martin said. “I've found my spot, and I think I'm a good leader. We trust each other, and we communicate. You feel comfortable your teammates will to their job, and that makes your job easier.”
Martin stays busy for 60 minutes providing pass protection and hoping to run the ball on offense. Then he crosses the line to become a leader on defense.
“We got three guys in the secondary we can count on, and that's big for the defensive line,” Martin said. “If the quarterback throws before we get there, they can shut things down.”
Green Bay will present a challenge.
“They're a top-notch championship contender,” Harmon said.
“Typically, a first-year team (like Lexington) doesn't make the playoffs, so we've got that motivation. We just have to make sure we execute.”