FOXWORTH, Miss. (WDAM) - For the longest time, if one asked coach Brad Duncan about Jartavious Martin, he’d reply, ‘Who?’
That’s because most in and around Foxworth knew Martin as “Tater Rabbit,” the ball boy who always seemed to be around Trojan Field.
Yet, no one seems to know how he got the nickname.
“I don’t even know, I really don’t know,” Martin said. “I guess they say it kind of replicates how I play – fast, shifty.”
‘Tater Rabbit’ has forced opponents and fans to put some respect on his name, growing into a physical and vocal presence in the West Marion locker room.
“He really loves the weight room, he really loves the classroom,” Duncan said. “He loves to compete on the field, too. He’s not the biggest kid, and you can see that, but you can’t measure his heart. He’s a typical Trojan. He plays as hard as he can play, as long as he can play.”
West Marion’s one of those smaller schools that’s typically forced to play guys both ways. But in the case of Martin, the Trojans prefer to have him on the field at all times.
“'Tater Rabbit' is one of those guys that you don’t want to come off,” Duncan said. “He’s a student of the game. Special teams, offense, defense – Rabbit’s one of those guys that has to be out there for us to be successful.”
“I ain’t trying to be cocky but I’m built for it,” Martin said. “Knowing that somebody has to be that guy to do it. It’s not just me, we have multiple guys that play multiple positions. I’m one of the ones that, you put me anywhere, I’ll play it just for the team’s sake.”
Rabbit’s time on the field on Friday resulted in 241 yards rushing and four touchdowns, including return to the house. But most importantly, it resulted in a victory.
The Trojans know how tough wins are to come by in Region 8-3A.
“Our guys got to a situation where we were wanting to cruise a lot and they realized we can’t hit cruise control,” Duncan said. “It really starts now. That SEC West that we always talk about, [Region 8-3A] possibly the best division in the state of Mississippi.”
“It’s just going to be a matter of us staying consistent, take care of the little things first and lead our younger guys in the right direction,” Martin said.
The Trojans (3-1) open Region 8-3A play on Friday at 7 p.m. against the reigning class 3A state champions Jefferson Davis (3-1).