Auburn tail­back Martin ends dif­fi­cult week with ca­reer game

Walker County Messenger - - Sports - By John Zenor

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Kam Martin couldn’t hold back the tears at least once dur­ing a try­ing week. Sleep was ter­ri­bly hard to come by, too.

The tail­back for No. 12 Auburn had to sweat out a week where his par­ents and lit­tle sis­ter were stuck in their Port Arthur, Texas home, with no power and di­min­ish­ing sup­plies. Martin’s aunt, Sarah Henry, died be­cause she had no way to get to her reg­u­lar dial­y­sis ap­point­ments.

“We didn’t have any food or any­thing,” Martin said. “No places to go get food. It was real tough, but I just told them: We’re go­ing to get through this.

“There was noth­ing I could do.”

What he could do is play foot­ball, even if it doesn’t seem like much in Hur­ri­cane Har­vey’s af­ter­math. But Martin wound up an un­likely star in the Tigers’ 41-7 vic­tory over Ge­or­gia South­ern Satur­day night.

A third-teamer cat­a­pulted into a big role by Kam­ryn Pettway’s one-game sus­pen­sion and Ker­ryon John­son’s right ham­string in­jury, Martin de­liv­ered with 136 yards and a 36-yard touch­down run. He also had a 61-yard run.

“I knew when my mo­ment came, I was just go­ing to do it for my city and my fam­ily,” Martin said, sport­ing a Texas Tough T-shirt af­ter the game.

His par­ents, Mar­ion and Howard, made it to the game. They were able to drive to Alabama af­ter the flood­wa­ters at their Port Arthur home re­ceded, ar­riv­ing af­ter 2 a.m. Fri­day in Howard’s work truck.

They had plenty to cel­e­brate Satur­day night af­ter a dif­fi­cult week. On Sun­day, they planned to head back

to Texas af­ter lunch to as­sess the dam­age in their home, where the floors were buck­led by flood­wa­ters and the garage was flooded, de­stroy­ing a car.

Auburn ar­ranged for a ho­tel room Fri­day and Satur­day for the fam­ily. Mar­ion Har­ris said a “mother’s in­stinct” told

her Martin was wor­ried and needed to see them. They were treated to a big per­for­mance.

“We were just com­ing down to kind of get away from all the sad­ness in Port Arthur,” Mar­ion Har­ris said. “We re­ally en­joyed our­selves.”

Port Arthur, a city of about 55,000 res­i­dents, is south­east of Beau­mont. Her­ring’s body was found on Wed­nes­day, and the

fu­neral home had to use a city dump truck to reach the home.

Quar­ter­back Jar­rett Stid­ham, who is from Stephenville, Texas, also had fam­ily and friends di­rectly af­fected by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey. He and other team­mates from Texas spent time pray­ing to­gether dur­ing the week, but Stid­ham also knew what Martin was en­dur­ing was es­pe­cially tough.

“Kam’s gone through a lot this week, more than a lot of peo­ple know,” Stid­ham said. “I can’t even fathom what he’s re­ally go­ing through, just with Port Arthur and his fam­ily. It’s pretty heart­break­ing stuff. He stepped up. He’s been locked in all week re­gard­less of what was hap­pen­ing back home. He stepped up in a big way and I was su­per happy for him.”

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