St. Laurence coach Harold Blackmon has plenty of confidence in junior quarterback Alex Martinez. His message to Martinez is simple: if it’s there, let it rip.
“With our offense and our quarterback, if the deep pass is there, he has the green light,” Blackmon said. “Martinez made the proper reads, our offensive line made the blocks and we put it all together.”
Martinez threw four touchdown passes in the first half, and the Vikings kept their playoff hopes alive with a 28-6 Catholic League White win over Leo in Burbank.
“We watched film on them all week, we ran those passing plays in practice all week,” Martinez said. “We knew what they were going to do, and we got the matchup we wanted.”
St. Laurence (4-4, 3-1) was scheduled to receive a forfeit win in week nine from St. Francis de Sales, but Blackmon said the Vikings were planning on seeking IHSA approval to play Johnson in their final game instead.
Either way, the Vikings will be cheering on their opponents as they came into the week with 31 opponents’ victories and could be on the bubble for the postseason if they finish with a 5-4 record.
Martinez, who finished 11-of-14 for 246 yards and the four scores, with all but seven of his yards coming in the first half, found Matt Gurgone (4 catches, 81 yards, 2 TDs) for a 13-yard touchdown to start the scoring.
The second quarter is when he really heated up, tossing scoring strikes of 40 and 20 yards to Carlos Baker (4 catches, 122 yards) and a 35-yarder to Gurgone.
It was a big night all-around for Gurgone, who also had two sacks and a forced fumble defensively.
“I’m always one of the smaller guys out there battling the offensive linemen, so I rely on my speed,” Gurgone said. “We worked really hard in the offseason, and we knew this game was important to make the playoffs. We’ve fought all season, and we’re still going.”
Leo (4-4, 1-2) broke the shutout with 2:40 left in the game on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Latrell Giles (5-of-19, 68 yards) to Saheed Adewole.
Joe Shorter ran 18 times for 85 yards for Leo.
Fayezon Smart ran for 127 yards on 22 carries for the Vikings.
“Our goal is always to get better every season, and we’ve done that this year,” Blackmon said. “We’re just hoping that one play against Bishop McNamara (when St. Laurence lost 27-21 on a touchdown in the final seconds) doesn’t come back to bite us. Our kids have battled their tails off, and I think we’re still headed in an upward direction.”