TENNERTON?- The Buckhannon-Upshur soccer team is on fire, thanks to senior forward Marty Elliott's pure goal-scoring ability. The Bucs are currently 12-1 overall and undefeated in Big 10 Conference action with an 8-0 record.
"It's amazing what he can do, sometimes I just like to step back and watch him play," B-U coach Mike Donato said. "He set his individual goal to be one of the top goal scorers in the state and he's working really hard to achieve it."
Through 13 games this season, Elliott has scored 24 goals and added nine assists.
The Inter-Mountain file photo
Buckhannon-Upshur’s Marty Elliott kicks the ball in a game earlier this year against Philip Barbour. Elliott has scored 24 goals on the year.
"It's great to have a player with his skills," Donato said. "But what really helps is that we have players around him that complement his ability. Our other forwards are doing a fantastic job of making runs and creating space. They feed him the ball and he absolutely finishes better than anybody."
While Elliott gets most of the publicity, Donato said forwards Trey Short and Dylan Hall are a "big part" of what makes him so good.
"We have a very dynamic team," Donato said. "It's not just Marty scoring all the goals. On any other team, he would stand out but we have a lot of other guys who can score, too. Their ability to work together is why we are winning games."
Donato said Elliott plays soccer year-round, participating in club leagues during the winter and spring. According to him, conditioning is Elliott's top priority.
"He works really hard to make sure he is in top physical condition," Donato said. "He's plays the 80th minute just as hard as he plays the first minute. It's really a testament to his drive and desire to play soccer."
Aside from playing soccer, Elliott also handles punting and kickoff duties for the football team. So far this season, he's notched four touch-backs and put three punts inside the opponents' 5-yard line.
"The football team needed somebody to help with their kicking game," Donato said. "He showed interested and stepped up to do it. That's the kind of kid he is."
According to Donato, Elliott is a natural leader.
"He's one guy the other boys definitely respect," Donato said. "He's a leader on and off the field. He's really a great example of how a student-athlete should act. He's always willing to step up and show the younger players what's expected of them."
Elliott earned first-team all-conference and honorable mention all-state honors last season.
"He's still not the perfect player," Donato said. "But he's a student of the game and willing to learn. It takes a very skilled player to control the ball, target in the goal and finish. He definitely takes advantage of all of his opportunities."