There are many successful layers to Lynden's defense: its ball-hawking safeties, game-changing play preventing cornerbacks, stout defensive line and athletic defensive ends. But at the Lions' core is a linebacker tandem arguably the most responsible for Lynden's dominating defense.
Jaremy Martin and Trent Postma, who combined have made 192.5 solo tackles, each bring a wealth of versatility and have helped the Lions' defense allow an average of 11 points per game while limiting offenses to just one or fewer touchdowns nine times.
"The way we design our defense is so our inside linebackers are going to be our lead tacklers, and we are going to put our two best tacklers at that spot," Lynden coach Curt Kramme said in a phone interview.
Martin and Postma have displayed their ability all year and will be heavily relied on again during Lynden's Class 2A State Playoff championship rematch against Tumwater (13-0) at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Tacoma Dome.
Martin, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound senior, and Postma, a 6-foot, 190-pound junior, balance each other out perfectly. Even though both have strength and quickness, Postma has a little more speed and Martin has the experience to quickly read an offense.
"I would say Jaremy is the quarterback of our defense," Kramme said. "He is making all the calls and doing all the adjustments to formations. He is a very smart player, but once the ball is snapped he is a very fantastic tackler."
In fact, no one in Lynden's storied program history has been better, or at least logged as many tackles as Martin.
When Martin increased his tackle total to 106.5 during Lynden's 21-7 win against Ellensburg last Saturday, he broke a longstanding Lions season tackling record, which was set in 1991 by Tim Hanson, who recorded 105 tackles. It was a record Kramme thought might not be broken.
And it was one Martin had set a goal to eclipse at the beginning of the year.
"It was a really good feeling," Martin said in a phone interview. "Before the season it was my biggest goal, but I wouldn't be able to do it without my teammates surrounding me, so I have to give it to them for helping me reach the goal."
Postma has certainly been one of those main contributors. He gives Lynden's defense a player who can spy and stick with any offenses' top weapon.
His 86 tackles ranks second among Lynden's leaders, and it's come after changing to linebacker from his defensive end spot last year.
"He is very strong and fast for his size," said Kramme of Postma. "There is no cookie-cutter mold for linebacker, but the common denominator is a very instinctive player, and those two boys are one of the bests in that position that we've ever had, at least the top one, two or three together."
Martin said trusting teammates and the game plan is key to thriving at middle linebacker, and with Postma, who Martin said is "like a brother," that confidence exists in each other's play.
Together, the duo has helped the Lions' defense put up some striking numbers against the run this postseason.
Besides giving up 150 yards and two rushing scores against Sumner in the state quarterfinals, Lynden held Sultan to 39 yards on 21 carries during districts, Kingston to 44 yards on 24 carries in the state round of 16 and Ellensburg to 52 yards on 21 attempts in last week's semifinals.
In spite of starting during last year's state title win against the Thunderbirds, Martin and Postma find themselves in different roles this time around.
Postma and Martin played on a defensive unit filled with seniors. Now they get their chance to spearhead a defense with minimal state-title-playing experience as the only returning starters.
"You have to go into every play thinking you are going to make a play," Martin said. "You have to trust your teammates, and that's something I was able to do last year. This year it's nice to know I have a really good front five in front of me who can help me make plays."
Reach Andrew Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.
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