By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
When it comes to the production of Glendora High School senior running back Andre Holmes, the facts are indisputable for the third-year starter. Give him the rock, and he will take care of the rest. Only four times in Holmes’ career has he been given 20 or more carries, and look what he’s done each time coach Mark Pasquarella has called his number. To continue reading, click thread
Nine times during Holmes’ sophomore year he had ten carries or less, but given 22 carries in the Tartans’ memorable CIF-Southern Section Central Division first-round playoff game against Upland, Holmes rushed for a 185 yards and a touchdown in their 29-28 overtime victory.
When Holmes was a junior, twice he had more than 20 carries in a game.
He carried 22 times for 177 yards and two touchdowns in a 47-34 win over Diamond Bar, and with 23 carries in their first-round playoff game against West Valley Hemet, he rushed for 260 yards and three touchdowns in a 56-21 win.
After not rushing more than 16 times in any game this season, Holmes was given a career-high 30 carries on Friday against Diamond Bar, and promptly delivered a 265-yard and three touchdown performance in a 40-19 win over Diamond Bar.
Holmes has averaged almost seven-yards per carry for his career, and is averaging 101 yards a game this season, so shouldn’t he be more of a focal point as the Tartans (4-2, 1-0) prepare to face struggling Damien (1-5, 0-1) on Friday at Citrus College?
“All I care about is winning,” Holmes said.
Then shouldn’t Holmes get the ball more considering the four times he has been given 20 or more carries, the Tartans won all four, including twice in the playoffs?
“That’s not for me to decide,” Holmes said. “I trust our coaches, if they need me to pass protect, I will pass protect. If they need me to carry the ball, I can do that too.
“I’m a three-year starter for this team, and have been around one of the longest. I feel like if they needed me to carry this team, I could do it, but at the end of the day all that matters is what we have to do win.”
Talk about your ultimate team guy, but also not surprising since Holmes carries a weighted 4.0 GPA, and is being pursued by Ivy League schools Princeton and Columbia.
Where he gets his talent isn’t a surprise either, his grandfather Jerry Holmes played in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs, and his father Todd Holmes played for Texas Christian University (1988-89).
“It’s kind of tough to try and live up to them, but I have never looked at it that way,” Holmes said. “I don’t feel a lot of pressure in football, it’s just fun to me.
“I feel like I can play in college, but right now I’m focusing on helping this team win league and get past the quarterfinals of the playoffs, because that’s where our season ended the last two years.”
With quarterback Drew Kaluzny graduating, Holmes figured to be more of a focal point, especially while the Tartans brought along sophomore quarterback Chad Jeffries.
But as Holmes pointed out, the Tartans’ offensive line was completely revamped, so he understood why coaches haven’t called his number more.
“It helps to get the ball a lot, you do form a rhythm,” Holmes said. “But week-to-week the game plan is different, that’s how it goes. I’m fine with that.”
Holmes realizes that Jeffries, who has thrown for 807 yards with five touchdowns and six interceptions, needs more polishing if they want to get the most out of their offensive weapons.
“Chad’s been great, he’s gaining valuable experience and that’s important for us,” Holmes said. “The most important thing though, is that our offensive line is coming around. They needed a few games to get comfortable, to know their roles, and I think you’re going to see that pay off in the weeks to come.”
Pasquarella couldn’t agree more.
“We think Andrew is pretty darn good,” Pasquarella said. “It has taken some time for our offensive line to come together, and during it, he’s (Holmes) had to buy his time while we explored with the passing game and going through different stages.”
On paper it would seem like a no-brainer, that the Tartans should continue to run their offense through Holmes if he continues to produce when given opportunities, but it’s not that simple.
“I wouldn’t call anyone the focal point,” Pasquarella said. “We need Andrew to keep the defense honest, because with the teams we go against, you have to be balanced.
“Our offensive line isn’t going to dominate its way (through the playoffs). You can do it (focus on running) on certain nights, but you have to be balanced at this level, you can’t pound the ball every game.”
For those reasons, Holmes has no complaints.
“This is a team game,” Holmes said. “Whether I get 200 yards or 50 yards, it’s not that big a deal. What’s important is that we get wins, that’s what we all play for don’t we?”