The state championship bowl title was unprecedented for Corona Centennial High's football team. The undefeated season represented another first for the Huskies.
And still, Taylor Martinez wanted more.
The Centennial senior quarterback wasn't satisfied with USA Today's final rankings, which had the Huskies No. 2 in the nation behind Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas.
"I wish we would have played St. Thomas Aquinas for the national championship," Martinez said.
Martinez's quest to be the best drove him to become the most indispensable player on the top team in California -- and The Times' Glenn Davis Award winner as the top player in the Southland in 2008.
A transfer from San Bernardino Cajon, Martinez accomplished plenty in his only season with the Huskies.
Centennial capped a perfect season with a 21-16 victory over Concord De La Salle in the state Division I championship bowl game that marked only the Spartans' second postseason defeat in the last 17 years.
Martinez, 6 feet 1 and 185 pounds, quickly grasped the nuances of the Huskies' no-huddle, spread offense and became a dual threat because of his speed and sturdy arm. He completed 59.5% of his passes for 2,994 yards and 28 touchdowns with only seven interceptions. He also rushed for 750 yards and 12 touchdowns, including a key four-yard run that gave Centennial its first lead against De La Salle.
The statistic that most impressed Centennial Coach Matt Logan was Martinez's 15-0 record as the starting quarterback.
"The most important thing is leading your team to victory," Logan said. "That's the most important stat for quarterbacks."
Norco Coach Todd Gerhart used man-to-man coverage on Centennial's receivers in an attempt to exert extra pressure on Martinez. No matter.
"We did well in the first half and then he started hitting receivers in stride," Gerhart said, recalling his team's 31-7 defeat in November. "He hit [receiver Ricky] Marvray on a couple of posts and it was over. He's a special guy."
Martinez is headed for Nebraska, where he hopes to become a quarterback even though he was recruited as an "athlete," meaning he could play anything from free safety to receiver.
"They said I'll have a chance to play quarterback there," Martinez said, "so we'll see."
Anyone who has tracked Martinez's career knows he's unlikely to settle for anything less.
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Glenn Davis winners
Winners of The Times' high school football player-of-the-year award, named after 1946 Heisman Trophy winner Glenn Davis from Army, who died in 2005. He starred at La Verne Bonita, leading the Bearcats to a 39-6 victory over Newport Harbor in the 1942 Southern Section final by scoring five touchdowns:
'08 Taylor Martinez, Corona Centennial QB
'07 Matt Barkley, Mater Dei QB
'06 Aaron Corp, Orange Lutheran QB
'05 Toby Gerhart, Norco RB
'04 DeSean Jackson, L.B. Poly WR/DB
'03 Brigham Harwell, Los Altos DL/FB
'02 Whitney Lewis, St. Bonaventure WR
'01 Hershel Dennis, Long Beach Poly RB
'00 Tyler Ebell, Ventura RB
'99 Matt Grootegoed, Mater Dei RB/LB
'98 Chris Lewis, Long Beach Poly QB
'97 DeShaun Foster, Tustin RB/DB
'96 Antoine Harris, Loyola TE/DE
'95 Chris Claiborne, Riverside North LB/RB
'94 Daylon McCutcheon, Bishop Amat RB/DB
'93 Glenn Thompkins, Eisenhower QB
'92 Travis Kirschke, Esperanza DL
'91 Billy Blanton, Mater Dei QB
'90 John Walsh, Carson QB
'89 Kevin Copeland, Dorsey WR
'88 Derek Brown, Servite RB
'87 Russell White, Crespi RB