The Martin Clippers are in their 2nd year of playing 8-man football and have their eyes focused on a long playoff run.
Last season (2019) was their first in 8-man football and they were able to make a statement by going 9-0 in the regular season before falling 56-12 to the eventual 8 man Division 1 state champion Colon Magi.
Coach Brad Blauvelt is in his 3rd season as head coach of the Clippers. He guided them to the playoffs in 2018 and finished with a 6-4 record before making the jump to 8-man last season.
The Clippers are not far removed from a 56 game losing streak that occurred from 2007-2014. That streak included 6 straight 0-9 seasons and also includes 2012 when Martin was outscored by their opponents 503-12.
For those of you who don’t know, Martin is located in Allegan County about midway between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids along Michigan 131. The Village of Martin has a population of just over 400 people (according to the 2010 census) and the school lists an enrollment of 162.
The team is led by a group of two way players and is led by senior QB/CB Gabe Meyers. Meyers has 450 yards rushing to go along with 5 TD’s and has thrown for another 348 yards and 8 TD’s. He also averages nearly 9 tackles per game on defense.
Sophomore JR Hildebrand, who is the cousin of Meyers has made a big impact for the Clippers on both sides of the ball. The MLB leads a defense that gives up just over 16 ppg with just over 9 tackles per game.
Other players that have contributed to the Clipper success this season have been; senior Brayden Eckman, sophomore Chris Tuinstra, senior Mitchell Jager, junior Charlie Martin, senior linemen Donny Moss and Josh Smith along with sophomore Karter Ribble.
While the Clippers have started the season 3-0, they still have their work cut out for them as they still have Lawrence, Marcellus and Bangor remaining on the regular season schedule.
The 8-man Division 1 playoffs will prove to be a tough road and will most likely include top 10 ranked; Merrill. Lenawee Christian, Suttons Bay, Morrice, Gaylord St. Mary, Deckerville and of course the Colon Magi.
The Clippers get back to action on Friday as they will travel to Lawrence (2-1) to take on the Tigers. Martin defeated Lawrence by a score of 38-16 last season. The two school are a 45 minute drive from each other, but they have met 50 times on the gridiron since 1958 with Lawrence holding a 33-17 advantage.