AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Kam Martin couldn’t hold back the tears at least once during a trying week. Sleep was terribly hard to come by, too.
The tailback for No. 12 Auburn had to sweat out a week where his parents and little sister were stuck in their Port Arthur, Texas home, with no power and diminishing supplies. Martin’s aunt, Sarah Henry, died because she had no way to get to her regular dialysis appointments.
”We didn’t have any food or anything,” Martin said. ”No places to go get food. It was real tough, but I just told them: We’re going to get through this.
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”There was nothing I could do.”
What he could do is play football, even if it doesn’t seem like much in Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath. But Martin wound up an unlikely star in the Tigers’ 41-7 victory over Georgia Southern Saturday night.
A third-teamer catapulted into a big role by Kamryn Pettway’s one-game suspension and Kerryon Johnson’s right hamstring injury, Martin delivered with 136 yards and a 36-yard touchdown run. He also had a 61-yard run.
”I knew when my moment came, I was just going to do it for my city and my family,” Martin said, sporting a Texas Tough T-shirt after the game.
His parents, Marion and Howard, made it to the game. They were able to drive to Alabama after the floodwaters at their Port Arthur home receded, arriving after 2 a.m. Friday in Howard’s work truck.
They had plenty to celebrate Saturday night after a difficult week. On Sunday, they planned to head back to Texas after lunch to assess the damage in their home, where the floors were buckled by floodwaters and the garage was flooded, destroying a car.
Auburn arranged for a hotel room Friday and Saturday for the family. Marion Harris said a ”mother’s instinct” told her Martin was worried and needed to see them. They were treated to a big performance.
”We were just coming down to kind of get away from all the sadness in Port Arthur,” Marion Harris said. ”We really enjoyed ourselves.”
Port Arthur, a city of about 55,000 residents, is southeast of Beaumont. Herring’s body was found on Wednesday, and the funeral home had to use a city dump truck to reach the home.
Quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who is from Stephenville, Texas, also had family and friends directly affected by Hurricane Harvey. He and other teammates from Texas spent time praying together during the week, but Stidham also knew what Martin was enduring was especially tough.
”Kam’s gone through a lot this week, more than a lot of people know,” Stidham said. ”I can’t even fathom what he’s really going through, just with Port Arthur and his family. It’s pretty heartbreaking stuff. He stepped up. He’s been locked in all week regardless of what was happening back home. He stepped up in a big way and I was super happy for him.”
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