In the Class 1, District 6 title game Thursday at Clover Dell Park, a long strike from the edge of the penalty area drew the Sacred Heart Gremlins even in the eighth minute.
The player behind that goal struck again in the 64th minute, maneuvering around a Cole Camp defender, then added goals in the 68th and 70th minute.
For Sacred Heart’s Max Martin, those four goals in the Gremlins’ 11-1 win were a continuation of a very productive few weeks.
He also scored four in the district semifinal win over Smithton. In the regular season finale against Clinton, he scored two in the span of two minutes, then added an assist. He had a goal and three assists in a win over Cole Camp to finish the conference portion of the regular season.
“Really just my teammates giving me the ball,” he said. “When I have shots on goal, they know I can hit it from there and I just take my shots. I’ve been fortunate to get them in recently.”
“(He’s) just keeping the ball close to his foot,” said Gremlins midfielder Chris Mergen. “He’s a pretty good player.”
Martin said he has been looking to get his shots on track most of the year. He said he hasn’t really changed anything in his game but has tried to focus a bit more.
“It hasn’t really come until recently,” he said. “I got it going a little more.”
The recent run of success has brought Martin’s scoring total up to 23 for the season.
“Max has always done a great job distributing the ball for us and the ability to score,” said Sacred Heart coach Travis Cooper. “The thing about Max is, he’s our senior captain. He’s a true leader on this team and he does generate some excitement and some spark for these other guys to play off of. We rely on Max a lot, but it’s a team effort to win any of these.”
The Gremlins will face Laquey (14-4) in the Class 1 quarterfinal at 2 p.m. Saturday at Laquey. Sacred Heart has beaten Laquey in the state tournament the past two years, including a 2-0 win at Clover Dell in the quarterfinal in 2014.
Eric Ingles can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @Eric_Ingles