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Unique Chambersburg rookie lineman makes headway

Last August, Cory Martin was practicing with his teammates, getting ready for the upcoming fall season.

That's also the case in 2016.

The difference is, last year Martin was playing baritone horn for the Chambersburg marching band, and this fall he's wearing football gear trying to make an impact as a rookie senior for the Trojans.

Oh, and he's 6-foot-5 and weighs around 310 pounds. It's likely he'll look a little more normal in his football uniform than he did in his band gear.

"It's kind of a different story the way it happened, but he shows some promise," said Chambersburg's new football coach Mark Luther. "He has tremendous size - he's the guy that if a college recruiter walked into a room full of players, he'd say, 'I want to check that guy out.'

"But of course he's starting out from scratch on skills so he's way behind. He's doing a good job, though."

Martin said he thought about coming out for the team when he was a sophomore, but decided against it.

"A lot of people told me I was built for football," he said, "but I was afraid of getting hit and didn't think I'd enjoy it. And I feared the coaches, too, because I heard they could get a little nasty."

So Martin was content to play at the football games, instead of playing in the games.

Everything changed last spring when a friend, Blake Ott, invited Martin to come to a rugby practice. He said he wasn't sure, but when he went, "I fell in love with it."

The rugby coaches suggested that Martin start doing some weight lifting to get stronger, and while lifting, Martin ran into Myles Braxton, one of the Trojans' top football players. Braxton introduced him to coach Luther.

Luther said, "We invited him to join us and I could tell he wasn't sure. So I suggested he work out with us in the spring and see what he thought."

"Coach said if I tried it and didn't like it he could respect that," Martin said, "and if I didn't try it, then I'd never know. So I gave it a shot and worked on the different skill sets, and I realized I enjoyed it, putting on the helmet and the pads and being with the guys.

"The best thing is the fellowship and the brotherhood and spending time with the guys. Guys like Kelton (Chastulik, a senior captain) help us focus on being a team."

There is another thing Martin has learned - football has side benefits he hadn't considered before.

"I feel like it's another way for me to relieve stress," Martin said. "I can get rid of all that pent up rage and anger. Nothing's better than throwing a guy to the ground. That's what I liked about rugby, except you don't have pads and you can't hit them high."

Martin may be just starting his football career, but he seems to have the right attitude to succeed. And he won't have to thrown down his baritone to relieve stress.