Belle Vernon’s Quinton Martin adds Tribune-Review Westmoreland, Trib HSSN Player of the Year honors to brilliant resume

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Saturday, December 17, 2022 | 9:01 AM


To win a PIAA or WPIAL title, it takes a team.

It also takes some special players.

For Belle Vernon, one of those special players was junior Quinton Martin.

The five-star superstar with more than 20 Division I football offers was the player Belle Vernon opponents feared the most.

And Belle Vernon coach Matt Humbert and his staff did a great job utilizing Martin’s talents as a running back, wide receiver and defensive back this season to help the team make history by winning its first state title.

Belle Vernon completed the run with a heart-thumping 9-8 victory against Neumann-Goretti from the Philadelphia Catholic League on Dec. 10 at Cumberland Valley High School.

Martin played a huge role. He caught the winning touchdown pass late in the third quarter, rushed for a team-high 71 yards, had two catches for 21 yards and intercepted a pass as the Leopards’ defense essentially shut out Neumann-Goretti, which scored its touchdown on a special teams miscue.

Martin rushed for 1,279 yards and 22 touchdowns, caught a team-high 28 passes for 424 yards and six touchdowns and returned three punts for touchdowns. He also picked off four passes.

For his efforts, Martin is the 2022 Tribune-Review Player of the Year.

“Winning the state title is unbelievable,” Martin said. “It was great. We made history by winning the state title. No Belle Vernon team had won a state title. It’s an honor to be the first team to do that.”

Humbert got the WPIAL to set up a difficult nonconference schedule and despite losses to Class 4A McKeesport and 5A Penn-Trafford, the Leopards were battled tested. That was evident against Avonworth, (Martinsburg) Central and Neumann-Goretti in the postseason.

“We were a little disappointed with the losses to McKeesport and Penn-Trafford,” Martin said. “But we never lost faith. We always kept our heads straight and got to our ultimate goal.”

Martin had a great season, but he knows there is always room for improvement, especially when it comes to playing at the next level, where almost everyone he faces will be elite.

“I definitely want to be a better leader,” Martin said. “I thought I had a great season, but you can always do better and that’s the main goal. Another goal is to go undefeated and get to where we got this year.”

Among the Power 5 colleges that have offered Martin include Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida State and South Carolina.

Martin said there are certain criteria he is using to help make his college choice.

“When I look at a college, I’m going to look at its environment and does it feel like home,” Martin said. “I must feel comfortable there with my teammates, coaches. Obviously NIL and where I have the best opportunities, that comes into a factor, and I want to include my family in my decision, too, and go wherever feels best for me.”

Martin missed basketball practice earlier in the week to do something special for less fortunate kids in Westmoreland County.

He went shopping for toys and donated the gifts to Westmoreland County Community Action and Children and Youth Services. The purchase of gifts was with his money. He partnered with the River Fund and was able to give back to his community.

“It’s something I plan on doing every year,” Martin said. “Many people didn’t know what I was doing except my team and people I work with – my PR and my uncle Shawn and aunt Deanne. We’ve been looking forward to this for months.

“We came up with the idea that I started saving money on my birthday and that it would be very generous of us to donate the toys to the less fortunate that they don’t have. At one point in my life, I was at that point that the kids were in. I thought it was a good idea to spread some love around.”

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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