Holladay takes a time out to speak to Kiwanis Club
by David Lazenby
Aug 30, 2011 | 2690 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
John Holladay
John Holladay
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John Holladay, the head football coach at Walker High School, on Monday told members of the Kiwanis Club of Jasper that he expects a sophomore member of the North-ridge High School football team who he referred to as "No. 6" to eventually become the No. 1 recruit in the nation, if he progresses as expected.

However, Holladay did not credit Kelvinton Scarbrough, the opposing team's star player, for his team's loss to Northridge HIgh last week. The NHS Jaguars beat the Vikings 34-19 Thursday at Kiro/Gambrell Field during the first game of the Vikings 2011 season.

"The problem was ... we didn't play the way we are capable of playing. We didn't do things the way we normally do," said Holladay.

Although Walker High has 26 seniors on its football team this year, Holladay said the squad that finished 10-2 in 2010 is green in terms of starters, only six of whom played last year.

"We returned three starters on offense and three on defense," he said. "We've got new faces out there playing, and that's difficult. They are not used to the speed of the game."

Holladay said the fast pace of his team's first opponent had his group off its game Thursday.

"Our kids were kind of in shell shock at halftime," Holladay said. "After the game, we were kind of dejected."

Despite the heartbreaking beginning to the season, Holladay said there was one bright spot that came from the loss: His team never gave up.

"We could have quit at half-time -- 21 to nothing," Holladay said. However, the team didn't quit. Instead, it came back onto the field following a fiery speech from their leader and fought hard in the second half, outscoring the Jaguars during the final 30 minutes of play.

In other words, the Vikings lived up to the team's motto: "It's not what we do ... but the way we do it."

Holladay said, "Success for us is doing things right." He added he expects his squad will get better in terms of final scores between now and the end of the season.

"We've got a long way to go, but we're going to get there," he said. "We're not going to let one loss slow us down. We're going to get back on the winning track and move forward."

Holladay, who guided his team to the playoffs each year in which he has been the Vikings' head coach, said the key to continuing to improve on his team's momentum lies in motivation.

"We have some who are self-motivated, but sometimes it's difficult to motivate them as a unit," he said.

Holladay said his coaching staff is also at work to encourage some of the team's players to develop their on-the-field leadership skills.

Region play for the Vikings will begin Friday when the Vikings go on the road to play Mortimer Jordan. The team will return home for the next game, another Thursday night match up in which Walker High will play Cullman.

Unfortunately, for several upcoming games the team will be without Jeb Cowen, the junior wide receiver who broke his arm during the first half of Thursday's game when he fell to the ground after a failed attempt to catch a pass. He is expected to be out for at least six weeks.

Holladay said when he told Cowen he was sorry about his injury, Cowen told him "No coach, I'm sorry."

"I said 'son, for what?' and he said 'Coach, if I had caught that ball this wouldn't have happened.'"

Holladay said although losing Cowen was "a big blow" to the program, he has no doubt that other players will "step up to fill in."

In addition to serving as the guest speaker during Monday's meeting of the Jasper Kiwanis Club, Holladay drew the winner in the club's recent Mule Drop fundraiser. Club member Sue Parnell said a winner could not be determined Thursday because "Rocky did his job on a block that was not sold."

The winner of $500 in the fundraiser in which 321 tickets were sold for $10 apiece was Lauren Globetti, the daughter-in-law of Kiwanis Club member Chip Globetti.

Parnell said money raised from the Mule Drop will be used to fund college scholarships and Kiwanis-based clubs in local schools.