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December 23, 2003

Colston announces presence

From: Maryland Gazette Newspapers, MD - Dec 23, 2003

by Marc Ethier
Staff Writer

Martise Colston dribbles down the basketball floor with his head up and his eyes darting side to side, looking for an opening in much the same way he runs the football.

Just as in football, when Colston finds the window he's looking for, watch out.

A running back in the fall and a power guard in the winter for the Maryland School for the Deaf, Colston, a junior, uses his 6-foot, 3-inch frame to batter and blast his way through opposition en route to the end zone or the basket. But he also can be slippery, writhing his way through holes in the defensive line as deftly as gaps in the perimeter.

Colston announced his presence in 2003 with a stunning season on the gridiron. He's gearing up to do the same on the hardcourt.

"In our tradition at MSD we always have good teams for all of the sports," Colston said. "I just started to love football because I find it exciting and it gets me into [an] ecstatic kind of mood. But basketball is the sport that I would die for. I just love the game. I love to play basketball."

Following an intense off-season of weight-training, Colston ecstatically set several school football records this year: yards in a season (1,530), points scored in a season (224) and a career (340), all-purpose touchdowns in a season (34) and career (51), and rushing touchdowns in a season (27). He was named a first-team All-American and the National Offensive Player of the Year by the National Fraternal Society of the Deaf, helping the Orioles shatter two state scoring records and claim the National Deaf Championship with a perfect 11-0 record.

All this, and the potential for much more: Colston could have broken the 2,000-yard rushing mark, Coach Andy Bonheyo said, if he'd only carried the ball more. With just nine carries a game, Colston's average run was 15.8 yards.

"This team is one of the best teams in my 15 years of head coaching," said Bonheyo, who has won 10 national championships with Texas, Model Secondary School for the Deaf and MSD. "This team was probably the most explosive on offense, and Martise was a huge part of that. He could have easily run for over 2,500 yards if he had more carries. Martise is one of the best running backs in Frederick County."

Colston and the rest of the Orioles shattered DeMatha's state record of 497 points in an 11- to 12-game season by posting 588 points. The Orioles' torrid pace also gave them the state mark in per-game scoring (53.45), previously held by Hereford. They accumulated 4,577 total yards on offense, or 416.1 per game, as Davon Cook (1,017 yards on 69 carries) followed Colston's lead in pursuit of the Orioles' preseason goal of an undefeated campaign.

"It's just all of the talent, ability, and conditioning that got us there to the perfect season," Colston said. "We all just have the talent. It's how it's supposed to be—we all knew that we would be this good this season."

MSD's gridiron success has translated to great expectations— backed by some already-impressive performances—on the basketball court. Colston, who averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds per game as the Orioles marched to an 8-1 pre-holiday record, figures to be a big part of the team's hoops hopes.

Just how big was on display in the Orioles' 73-70 win over Heritage Academy on December. 18, when Colston scored a team-high 22 points and hauled down five rebounds after sitting out the whole second quarter. MSD trailed for much of the contest but put Colston back in action for the second half; he scored the game-winning field goal with a minute to play and added insurance with a pair of free throws with three seconds left.

"Martise Colston is an excellent ball player," said Orioles head basketball coach Vance Rewolinski. "He does well in rebounding, scoring from the driving lane, and high post. He is a good leader on the team."

Colston and MSD resume the basketball season January 6 against Quantico, whom the Orioles beat 37-35 last year. They'll be playing under a pleasant onus: Since late August, Maryland School for the Deaf has lost just one contest in the two chief boys' sports—a 55-42 hoops decision December 12 to the hosts of the Clerc Classic at Indiana School for the Deaf.

Meanwhile, the Orioles haven't just won—they've won in a lopsided, dominant way. MSD wins the close ones, as evidenced by the Heritage game, and it wins the not-so-close ones, as evidenced by the football team's entire season. Combining the two seasons, Maryland School for the Deaf is 19-1.

A look ahead is almost as encouraging as a look back. The Orioles' best player on the court as well as the field will be back for another season in 2004.

And still more good news: Colston also plays baseball and soccer and runs track.

"I love to run down the field, make the big play," Colston said. "[I love to] run through the defenders when I had the football to crush them. And I love to play basketball in all situations. I like to be a leader for MSD."

Copyright © 2003 The Gazette - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.