If the third time really is a charm, this could be the year that Arlington Martin finally gets past its playoff nemesis.
Martin (11-1) faces Euless Trinity (12-0) in the third round of the Class 5A Division I playoff bracket for the third straight season.
Trinity prevailed in the two prior regional elimination games, 37-19 on Trinity’s home turf at Bedford’s Pennington Field in 2009 and 42-21 on Martin’s home at UT-Arlington’s Maverick Stadium last year.
It is back to Pennington this time for a noon Saturday kickoff.
Trinity is a measuring stick for Martin’s improvement under coach Bob Wager.
Wager’s Warriors lost bi-district games to Trinity in 2006 (41-0) and 2007 (31-0).
“Those games were in our first couple of years trying to build a program,’’ Wager said. “We were on a different level. We’ve tried to learn from all our games with Trinity.’’
Martin has been within striking distance late in the third quarter of the two previous regional games.
“We’ve come off the field both times with people coming up and saying we could hold our heads high, but in each case we’ve fallen short of our goal to win a state championship,’’ Wager said.
As for this version of Trinity, Wager said only the names of players have changed.
“Trinity is very physically imposing," Wager said. "They are extremely well coached. The attention to detail is there from head coach Steve Lineweaver down to the managers that get the sideline ready for a game.’’
Martin, a District 4-5A co-champion, has playoff wins over Midland (37-7) and San Angelo Central (43-12).
Junior running back Kyle Hicks is Martin’s big gun with 1,469 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns.
Trinity, the District 6-5A champion, has playoff wins over Duncanville (55-36) and Allen (28-21).
Wager said he will emphasize the same things to his team: “Our reputation is our work ethic. We have to push ourselves every day. We will play hard. We do that every week.’’
Prior to this three-year run, Martin had never made it to the third playoff round.
“We’re excited to be back,’’ Wager said. “We may be back next year or we may never be back. Our guys understand that.’’