At first, Jake Martin took it as a joke.

But his coach, Dustin Tupper, was being quite serious when he told the Lewis-Palmer senior to join the other running backs during a summer football workout. Like a true team player, Martin did what his coach asked.

For most of his life, he's played wide receiver. But he recently showed that he can transition to a new position and excel. That happened Friday night, when one of the Rangers' newest running backs rushed for six touchdowns in a 46-34 win over Evergreen in nonconference action.

His performance landed him this week's Gazette Preps Peak Performer honors.

Martin finished with 372 yards on 36 carries to help the Rangers (1-1) bounce back from a season-opening loss to Mead; his longest TD run was an 81-yarder.

"Honestly, I was just looking forward to playing the game," he said. "I like to focus on the little things, doing the little things right. If I do that, then outcomes like six touchdowns will happen."

He credited his offensive linemen for creating big gaps to help him run through the Evergreen defense.

But he never expected to be in this position — literally.

Martin has always been known as a wide receiver, even during his youth football days. His dad, Jay, played quarterback at Army in the 1990s, which helped him better understand what someone in that position wanted in a receiver.

And during his time at Lewis-Palmer, Martin has shown he's a reliable receiver. Last year, he led the Rangers with seven touchdown receptions on 11 catches for 429 yards.

But Tupper, the Lewis-Palmer coach, couldn't pass up the opportunity to take more advantage of Martin's speed and 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame. So that's why he decided, seemingly without much notice, to have Martin work out with the other running backs that summer day.

"If you're going to connect your best athlete with the ball," Tupper said, "it's hard to do it as a receiver. We wanted to connect that kid with the ball as much as we could and the easiest way to do that and the most effective way is to run."

So far, it has worked out quite well.

Martin's six touchdowns nearly tied what is believed to be the school's single-game record in the category. Nick Pavlik logged seven rushing TDs in the Rangers' 63-48 victory over Canon City on Oct. 9, 2015.

Martin, who committed to Division I South Dakota over the summer, can't help but smile a little when he thinks about the moment his football career took a drastic shift. He's just happy that it happened.

"At the beginning, I was a little confused," he said. "I never played in my life, so I didn't know what to expect or what to do. Now I'm starting to see things and starting to look and play like a running back."

Just the Facts

Jake Martin, Lewis-Palmer

Sport: Football

Year: Senior

Position: Running back

Highlights: In a coming-out party of sorts, Martin rushed for 372 yards and six touchdowns, including an 81-yarder, on 36 carries in a 46-34 win over Evergreen on Friday. Prior to this season, he played mostly wide receiver.

Favorite movie: Black Panther

Favorite music artist: Young Thug

Favorite school subject: Math

Biggest inspiration: His dad, Jay Martin

Other Top Performers

Cross Country

Hope Stark, Cheyenne Mountain

The sophomore fell just short of the Division I girls' title at the Liberty Bell Invitational, arguably one of the first biggest races of the season, over the weekend. Stark finished in 18 minutes, 9.1 seconds, behind Elizabeth Schwiker of Ralston Valley, who won in 18:07.4.


Luke McAllister, Palmer Ridge

In his first varsity start, the junior quarterback completed 9 of 12 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns in a 48-0 win over Canon City on Friday. All of the Bears' points came in the first half. The next day he received his first Division I scholarship offer from Colorado State.

Cade Palmer, The Classical Academy

The sophomore rushed for three touchdowns to lead the Titans in a 43-12 rout of D'Evelyn on Friday. It was the second straight week that TCA (2-0) blew out an opponent.

Field hockey

Reece Wagers, Palmer Ridge

The senior goalie was part of a Bears defense that held opponents to one goal last week, in addition to coming up with eight saves in two wins. Palmer Ridge topped Cherry Creek 2-1 and Grandview 5-0 to remain perfect at 4-0.

Boys' soccer

Thad Dewing, Air Academy

The senior forward recorded two goals and two assists in a 6-1 thumping of Montrose on Saturday. It helped the Kadets (2-1) bounce back from a 6-1 loss to Boulder a week earlier. Dewing leads his team in goals with four goals and three assists.


Eldaah Asfaw, The Classical Academy

The senior nearly went perfect at the plate, going 6 of 7 with two doubles and five RBIs in the Titans' 22-15 win over Sand Creek on Saturday. It marked the 1-7 Titans' first win.

Bryana Lucas, Palmer

The sophomore struck out six batters and collected her second triple of the season in a 20-7 win over Sierra on Saturday. The Terrors (2-6) won on a 10-run mercy rule in the fourth inning.


Riley Simpson, Rampart

The junior outside hitter collected 32 kills in wins over Vista Ridge and Denver South last week. Against the latter, Simpson finished with 15 kills along with two aces and one block in a three-set sweep to help lead the 3-0 Rams.


Chhun Sun is a sports reporter with an emphasis in preps. He joined The Gazette in April 2015 and covered public safety for three years before joining @gazettepreps staff. The Thailand-born Cambodian-American has been in journalism for nearly two decades.