Virden’s Brandon Martens is pursuing both a post-secondary education and his passion for football this fall in Alberta.
The son of Patrick and Kyla Martens is enrolled in Arts at Edmonton’s University of Alberta. The first-year student plans to study business and is considering law school. As well, the former Virden Collegiate Institute gridiron standout is suiting up for the Edmonton Huskies, a junior team competing in the perennially strong Prairie Football Conference.
“My favourite part about playing for the Huskies so far is getting to continue on playing and improving my game,” he said.
The Edmonton club’s coaching staff has been pleased with Martens.
“What has impressed me the most is how fast he has picked up the playbook and all the subtleties of our defence,” Huskies defensive coordinator Jeff Tobert said. “It is a complex system that takes most guys a while to learn, but Brandon has picked it up quickly.”
Although he starred on both sides of the ball at VCI, the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Martens is playing linebacker for the Huskies.
“Brandon is a solid tackler and has good speed and agility,” Tobert said. “He is really working to improve his footwork and technique. He is also learning how his position relates to other positions on the field.”
Martens, who is also learning the long snapper position, said the big differences between high school and junior football are “how the intensity has changed, it moves a lot quicker, and the hits are a lot harder.”
Last season Martens won the Rural Manitoba Football League’s Most Outstanding Player – Defence while also being one of the league’s top rushers. He was named to the All-Canadian TITAN team, part of the Nissan Kickoff Project, for which he got to play in an all-star contest and watch the Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup live. Throughout his football career, the former VCI Student Council president has had the backing of his parents.
“Their support has been incredible,” he said. “They helped me get to practices or whatever event I needed to get to. They always found a way, and I don’t think I would have been able to do it without their constant support and love.”