FOXWORTH, Miss. (WDAM) - From just about the minute he strapped on as football helmet and laced up his cleats, West Marion High School senior Jeremiah Holmes has been a linebacker trapped in a quarterback’s body.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Holmes, who will serve as the Trojans’ starting triggerman for a fourth consecutive year, will again hold down a spot behind the defensive front this fall.
“We don’t have 67 players on our roster,” said Holmes, who was tabbed West Marion’s “Player of the Pine Belt.” said. “Thirty at the most, 40, maybe, when school starts, but a lot of our guys are playing both ways, playing special teams.
“I feel we have always been underestimated. West Marion has always been kind of small, but what our guys strive on is heart and determination. That’s where we get our strength from. We ain’t going to stop. We ain’t going to quit.”
The past two years, Holmes has put up near-mirror numbers in the passing game, throwing for more than 1,800 yards each season and combining for 40 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.
In 2017, Holmes rushed for 487 yards and nine scores. Last year, the Trojans’ offensive personnel dictated more of a spread offense, and Holmes saw his ground numbers dwindle to less than 200 yards and four scores.
But this spring, the pendulum swung back. The Trojans worked in full pads and returned to a more physical style.
“We went back to blocking, we went back to tackling, and Jeremiah, he may not be very fast, but he’s going to stick (the ball) up in there and make a dadgum play some way,” West Marion coach Brad Duncan said.
Holmes said that suits him, which is not surprising for a guy who does not shy from contact, averaging six tackles a game as s three-year starter on defense.
“My sophomore season was probably my best year,” Holmes said. “Last year wasn’t so great.”
The Trojans ripped off six consecutive wins to open the 2018 season, but then dropped four of five games in brutal Region 8-3A to miss postseason play.
“Last season was not the best season,” Holmes said. “It was the first time not making the playoffs in like eight seasons, so we’re looking to get back to the playoffs, win a (Marion County) championship.
“That’s what we want to do, and that’s what we’re going to do, God willing.”
Duncan said Holmes will be out front, leading the way.
“Jeremiah is your typical West Marion kid, and we expect a lot out of him,” Duncan said. “Our kids are going to play hard every single snap, and that’s kind of what we pride ourselves on.”
West Marion will open the 2019 season at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 23 at Purvis High School.