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Former all-state RB opts out rest of high school season to focus on college prep

Former all-state running back and Temple commit Johnny Martin has opted out of the remainder of his senior season at Timber Creek.

First-year Timber Creek football coach Brian Wright said he received a text from Martin on Wednesday night, a few hours after Martin and the Chargers wrapped up practice for Friday’s 15-12 win over Delsea.

“He just texted me Wednesday night and said he was opting out to prepare for college,” said Wright. “That was pretty much the extent of it. I had no inkling he was even thinking about it. It is what it is. I wished him good luck.”

Martin posted three 1,000-yard seasons – including a 2,000-yard season as a sophomore when he was second-team all-state – at Highland the previous three years, though he missed the final four games of his junior campaign after being suspended for an off-the-field incident.

Martin transferred to Timber Creek for his final season. He played in the Chargers’ 21-0 opening-night loss to No. 7 Williamstown, gaining 45 yards on 14 carries and catching two passes for 16 yards.

Prior to the game, Wright talked about how engaged his new running back was in practice, even taking scout-team reps when he wasn’t needed on offense.

“He was awesome,” said Wright, who added the running game will be by committee without Martin. “I liked his mentality, but if his interest is elsewhere then we’ll focus on the kids we have that want to play.”

Timber Creek resumes its season Friday against Martin’s former team, Highland.

Martin didn’t respond to a text and call asking for comment.

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Bill Evans covers the West Jersey Football League. He can be reached at bevans@njadvancemedia.com

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Surgery at this time is important for the rest of Cowboys LT Tyron Smith’s career

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones joined the K&C Masterpiece on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM] recently to talk about Tyron Smith’s injury and more. Here are some of the highlights.

On Tyron Smith being done for the year…

Jones: “Let me just say this. Tyron has done any and everything he could possibly do with his condition to play. And as witnessed by the fact he had 88 snaps last week. So, he’s doing everything he can do. The facts are that he’s a 10-year veteran, and this surgery at this time, not after the season, but at this particular time is important for the rest of his career. And that’s paramount to the fact that he’s obviously playing because it’s nerve type sensitivity that is involved here, gets, creates — stinger type, if you remember the term of nerve in your neck and shoulder area and that’s the area we’re talking about. But the bottom line is we all agree that he should have the surgery, which will put him out for the rest of the year. I have said over the last two or three weeks that my biggest concern I have as a position group with all the things that we can critique and look to improve upon with our team, and we certainly have many of them that we can, of all the concerns is the offensive line. It’s always the challenge relative to continuity when you start shuffling it around or losing key players within the offensive line. Position flex, the ability to move a player and have the ability to move around. Some of them like [Zack] Martin or Larry Allen or people like that, they go anywhere you want to put them and do an All-Pro job. But you can’t have all of those. But bottom line is we have a lot of options. We have a lot of guys that are truly going to have to step up. Step up means just what it says. They’re going to have to play above what we expected them to play this year because we thought we were going to have [La’el] Collins, and we thought we were going to have Tyron. And, so, these guys have to step up either sooner or step up better than we had anticipated. We got good coaching. We got the ability — it’s not like this is a surprise. If you remember back in our training camp that we just had a few weeks ago, Collins and Tyron Smith were not active for most of the camp. So, this isn’t something that’s sudden to us, but make mistake about it: we’ll have to adjust, and it will be a major adjustment for us.”

Is everything on the table as far as adjustments, or do you have a more specific contingency plan like Connor Williams going out to tackle?

Jones: “You can say anything is on the table. What has the best combination out there, complement — in