The great program builder/re-builder Milt Theodosatos once said about kicking the ball to a great returner, “We kick the ball to him, that’s a human tragedy.”
Imagine four human tragedies in one season?
That’s what happened this year when opponents kicked the ball to Scotch Plains-Fanwood senior Shawn Martin. Not that they did it often.
The 5-11, 170-pound lightning bolt returned four kickoffs for touchdowns in 2020. He only had six returns all year.
Good job by the opponents, just not good enough.
Martin returned two kicks for touchdowns in a 42-38 loss to Cedar Grove in the Raiders’ first-ever home game under the lights at Perry Field. The returns were 95 and 92 yards.
A week later, he returned a kick 90 yards to paydirt in a 27-22 win over Linden, and he followed it up with an 82-yard kick return for a score against Princeton in a 61-20 victory over the Little Tigers.
Click below to hear Shawn Martin talk about his four kick returns for touchdowns this year, including which was his favorite:
Honorable Mentions for Special Teams Player of the Year went to senior kicker Jake Beckman of Ridge and junior kicker Jai Patel of South Brunswick.
Beckman is a three-year starter who went 12-for-16 on field goals in his career, and 89-of-102 on PATs. He kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired to beat Bridgewater-Raritan in 2018.
Patel is on the radar of several Power 5 schools with another year yet to be played scholastically. He was 7-of-8 of field goals in 2020, with a long of 42 yards, and perfect on 22 PATs. He also handled kickoffs, booting 19 of 32 for touchbacks, and averaged 41 yards per punt, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA, according to head coach John Viotto.