In the world of Howard County boys soccer, the Martinelli name holds quite a bit of clout. Justin, the oldest of four Martinelli brothers, was a first-team all-county player who registered more than 70 career points and helped Mt. Hebron win a state title his senior year in 2006. Phil, the next oldest, recorded more than 80 career points and was named Player of the Year as a senior in 2008. Bryan, who graduated in 2011, wasn't a prolific scorer but was a member of two state championship teams at Marriotts Ridge.
So naturally, when Brad, the youngest of the Martinelli brothers, arrived at Marriotts Ridge as a freshman in 2009 there were expectations that came along with the family name.
"There was definitely pressure early on to live up to what they had done," Brad Martinelli said. "People hear Martinelli and they expect you to be pretty good."
As time would reveal, though, Brad wasn't just pretty good — he was great.
In fact, after helping Marriotts Ridge to four consecutive state titles and earning Columbia Flier/Howard County Times Player of the Year honors this fall, he just may be leaving behind the greatest Martinelli legacy of all.
"It's hard to imagine a better four years than Brad ended up putting together," Marriotts Ridge coach Kevin Flynn said. "In some ways, for as much pressure as there may have been at the beginning, I think he may have benefitted from coming after his brothers.
"Growing up playing with them, watching them and learning from them, he knew what it took to be a great player."
Martinelli finished this fall, his senior season, with nine goals and 13 assists. During his four-year varsity career he compiled 25 goals and 33 assists for a total of 83 points, more than any other county player during that span.
But more than the stats, Martinelli's greatest contribution was his ability to consistently will his team to victory. In crunch time during his four years with the Mustangs, when the season was on the line in the playoffs, he never lost.
"Simply put, Brad's a winner," Flynn said. "He's the guy you want on your team if you need a goal, an assist or even to just control a ball in the midfield. When it was win or go home there was no one better."
This season, as the only active Marriotts Ridge captain, Martinelli was the team's "unquestionable leader," according to Flynn. And with him at the helm, the Mustangs managed to put together the program's first undefeated season.
There were moments of adversity on the way to 17-0, notably being down a goal at the half against Oakland Mills in the 2A South Region finals, but the Mustangs always seemed to have an answer.
"When we were down, we always found a way to step it up to another level," said Martinelli, who assisted on one of the team's two second-half goals against the Scorpions in the playoffs. "Against Oakland Mills, knowing it could have been my last high school game, we came out and played one of our best halves of the year to pull out the win."
As for picking his favorite of the four state championships, Martinelli says this last one, a 4-0 victory over Queen Anne's, will always hold a special place with him.
"It stands out because it was my senior year, we tied the state record (for consecutive state titles) and we got that first undefeated season for the school," Martinelli said. "Phil has always told me how tough it was to lose that last high school game, so to be able to go out on a win is really special."
Named to the all-county first team are:
Nick Applegate, Marriotts Ridge. Thanks to Appelgate's versatility at the forward position, the Mustangs were able to play just one guy up top each of the last two years. He was the guy who could hold the ball and set up the offense, or turn and go to goal. And, for a little icing on the cake, he was the team's main long throw guy. "He has all the tools you could ever ask for from a guy at that position," coach Kevin Flynn said. "He had a lot of responsibility, but he handled it all extremely well."
Applegate ended up with 10 goals and 13 assists, putting him second in the county in total points. In just two years on varsity he amassed 56 points, putting him among the top 10 in program history in both goals and assists.
Jon Lippitt, Hammond. Not the fastest player in the county, Lippett made opponents pay with his incredible dribbling skills and ability to move his way through tight spaces. "He's at a different tactical level," coach Brett Cutler said. "His feet are as gifted as anyone I've seen and some of the things he did against two or three defenders at a time this year were unreal."