HASTINGS – While some players are trying to get back into football mode for Saturday’s 42nd annual Sertoma 8-Man Classic, Ty Martinsen had a head jump on that process.
The Riverside graduate participated in last Saturday’s Northeast Nebraska All-Star Football Classic in Norfolk, and he made quite the impact.
Martinsen returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown to help the White team top the Red 20-13. For his performance, the 5-foot-11, 205-pound linebacker was named his team’s defensive most valuable player.
“It was awesome,” Martinsen said about the pick-six. “It just drifted over to my zone, and I caught it and just hauled butt. There was a guy behind me and I covered the hitch. He threw it right to me.”
Now Martinsen returns to the 8-man game for one final time as he will try to help the West top the East in the 6 p.m. contest at Hastings College.
Martinsen isn’t alone in having an extra week of practice to get back into football mode. He said several of the players in the Sertoma 8-Man Classic played in the Northeast Nebraska All-Star Classic or the West Nebraska All-Star game.
He was happy to have a daily 2-hour practice last week before returning to the practice field for this week’s event.
“I think it’ll be nice getting back into it from last week,” Martinsen said. “I think a lot of us played in last week’s games, either Scottsbluff or Northeast. I think we’re ready to play.”
Martinsen is looking forward to the week leading up to Saturday’s game and to be involved in this all-star contest.
“It is fun to be back on the field again,” he said. “It’s a good honor to represent my town, my school and the 8-man association.”
While most players participating played 8-man football for their entire high school career, that isn’t the case for Martinsen.
He was a key part of three straight 6-man state championship teams at Riverside before the Chargers switched to 8-man this past fall.
“Eight-man is fun,” Martinsen said. “I played 6-man my first three years. Playing one more 8-man game before I play 11-man will be nice.”
The Chargers advanced to the second round of the Class D-2 playoffs before being eliminated by Kenesaw. Martinsen suffered an injury in that game that made him miss most of his senior season in basketball.
He said overall the switch from 6-man to 8-man went smoothly.
“People think it’s a big adjustment, but it’s not really,” Martinsen said.
After playing on defense last week, Martinsen is excited to also likely see some time at running back too for the West team. Being a two-way player is more familiar to him since that is what he is used to from his high school career.
After Saturday, the focus will be on making the transition to the college game since Martinsen will be joining the team at Doane.
“The speed of the game is going to be a lot different,” he said. “I’ve heard that it’s a lot faster. The first couple of weeks I’ll have to go hard and then transition into it.”
But before that comes around, Martinsen hopes to end his brief 8-man career with a win Saturday. And he likes the make-up of the West squad.
“We’re a bunch of ranching kids, so I think we’re pretty strong,” Martinsen said. “And we’re pretty tough, so I think that will be good.”
What is the key to getting another all-star football win with just one week to practice?
“You have to be positive and you have to have fun,” Martinsen said. “Then you’ll win.”
Hall of Famers
The third class of inductees for the Nebraska Eight-Man Football Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame will be honored during halftime of Saturday’s game.
The 17-member class of 2019 includes several with area ties:
% Casey Beran was a standout running back and defensive end at Sargent in the early 1990s. He helped the Bulldogs advance to the state semifinals in 1994 and was named the 8-man defensive player of the year before becoming a 3-time all-conference defensive end at Chadron State.
% Bob Jensen has published Huskerland Prep Report since 1990, spotlighting high school sports in all classes. The Central City resident’s publication has featured over 1,200 articles on 8-man football teams, coaches and athletes.
% Steve Kriewald led North Loup-Scotia to four playoff appearance, including a Class D-2 runner-up finish in 1997. He broke the Wildcats’ school records for rushing yards in a game (313) and tackles in a career (577) before becoming a fullback at Nebraska.
% Glen Snodgrass is being inducted as both a player and a coach. The current coach at York, Snodgrass’ involvement in 8-man football began by being a four-year starter and a first-team all-state defensive end at North Loup-Scotia. He was named the Huskerland Prep Report defensive player of the year in 1993 while leading the Wildcats to a D-1 state title. Snodgrass coached Overton to a Class D-1 state title in 2005 and two runner-up finishes.
% Larry Zabloudil joined the Hastings Sertoma Club in 1990 and become a member of the 8-Man all-star committee in 1992. He began an 11-year span of serving as the committee’s chair in 2003 while helping line up activities for players and coach during game week.