Edwardsville High School football coach Matt Martin never gets too excited about awards or accolades, especially if they are headed in his direction.
But it was tough to overlook the job done by Martin and his staff this season as they revamped their offense around junior quarterback Dan Marinko and won their first 12 games before losing to eventual Class 7A state champion Chicago Mount Carmel in the semifinals.
Martin was voted News-Democrat Large-School Coach of the Year by his peers.
What will Martin remember?
"How nervous I was before every game," he joked. "I just really enjoyed being around this group. When you're saying something they get it and they're committed as much as you are. I felt like we were leading the charge and they were right beside us, and that's fun."
Martin looks for players that will produce, regardless of size.
"We've got a lot of kids that aren't prototypes," he said. "I've got a 5-9, 195-pound defensive end, too. Can you play hard, are you tough, are you smart, can you execute? That's what we look for. That's the beauty of high school football."
-- Norm Sanders