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Hoover's Gio Martinez is the center of attention

Center Gio Martinez brings leadership, physicality to forefront for Tornadoes

August 23, 2012|By Gabriel Rizk,
  • Hoover High football center Gio Martinez is the leader of the Tornadoes offense.
Hoover High football center Gio Martinez is the leader… (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff…)

From mental sharpness to physical grit, Gio Martinez has it all covered for the Hoover High football team from his central position in the Tornadoes' offensive line.

Hoover's toughest player and cerebral leader, the senior center will bear numerous responsibilities this season, not the least of which are the example he sets with his hard-nosed play and the role of coach on the field he will play in organizing the offense prior to every snap.

"If I mess up, the whole offense messes up, so it depends on me a lot," Martinez says. "I can't afford to mess up. As a senior leader, I try being a good leader to the freshmen and the sophomores. I want to leave a good reputation for this school. I want to be remembered."

Hoover Coach Andrew Policky has no doubts about Martinez' ability to handle the workload, as he was impressed by Martinez' play and work ethic during his first year coaching the Tornadoes last season, which was also Martinez' first at the varsity level.


"He makes all the line calls and line adjustments and also plays defense for us and plays on some of the special teams," Policky says. "He's one of the kids that's always on the field and he's here every day. Every one of his teammates knows they can count on him."

Martinez will be called on to do a little of everything during the Tornadoes' 2012 campaign, which kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday against host Blair at Muir High, but his most critical function will be anchoring Hoover's offensive line, a major strength of the team that will be crucial in executing Policky's wing-T offense.

After taking up tackle football when entering Hoover's program as a freshman, Martinez quickly fell in love with the intense physicality of the game and it continues to show in every play he makes, Policky says.

"He's one of those offensive linemen who plays with a real nasty streak," Policky says. "Some kids tend to be a little bit timid, but he doesn't have any of that in him. He plays hard on every play, he's not one of those kids who takes any plays off."

Indeed, Martinez has no tolerance for timidity among his teammates and will be the first to voice his discontent if a player isn't putting in 100%.

"One thing I like about football, I like to go hard," Martinez says. "If my teammates don't feel like going hard, I get on their case to go harder and work their best. Football is about being physical and if you don't want to be physical, it's not the sport to play."

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