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Friday Night Hero: A.L. Brown’s Gerald Holt

By Mike London
mlondon@salisburypost.com
KANNAPOLIS ó Informed by head coach Mike Newsome that senior lineman Gerald Holt is the Wondersí defensive player of the week, assistant Shon Galloway wrinkles up his nose.
ěOnly because someone has to be,î Galloway snorts, making sure Holt is within earshot.
Galloway is an easy-smiling, high-fiving guy in his P.E. classes, but once he enters the film room or walks on the football practice field, the former East Tennessee State Buccaneer holds a masters degree in tough love.
A.L. Brownís defense devoured Cox Millís veer option to the tune of 56-0 on Friday, but Galloway has been ěGrowl-awayî ever since. The tape showed plenty his defensive linemen did wrong. He intends to fix it.
ěOh, yeah, heís tough,î Holt said with a sigh. ěBut thatís all part of being a good coach. Iím a captain, so Iím going to get yelled at more than anybody. I expect it.î
Case in point.
There was a play on Friday on which Holt leveled a ballcarrier before he reached the line of scrimmage.
Wonder fans roared. Holt was pleased. Teammates slapped his back.
Galloway wanted to kick Holt through the uprights.
ěThe crowdís yelling, ëYay! Holt got a tackle for loss!í î said Galloway, doing a decent impression of a screaming throng. ěBut Holt did not do what he was supposed to do. His job was to squeeze down on the guard and keep him off our linebacker. We donít need Holt to make that tackle.î
It may have been the first time in pigskin history that a tackle for loss was recorded as a blown assignment when film was graded, but the seventh-ranked Wonders (6-1) take football seriously.
But donít get the wrong idea about Galloway. Heís just coaching his guys up. The linemen appreciate his attention to detail. He appreciates the hard-working Holt.
ěHolt is one of those guys who can play every position on the d-line,î Galloway said. ěHeís a great kid, a very smart kid, a very good leader. Heís coachable as they come. Ask him to do something and he does it.î
Holt was a defensive end until Porter Ridge took the Wondersí lunch money. After that 41-13 loss, he was asked to move inside, with Shakil Gore taking his old spot.
ěItís made us more athletic and a lot better,î Newsome said. ěWeíre getting more pressure now from both places. Holt is physical. He can clog a hole in a hurry.î
Holt looks older than his years. He was the first Wonder Newsome met when he arrived in Kannapolis, and Newsome thought he was being introduced to one of his assistant coaches.
Holt was chosen by his peers as a captain. Heís taken that role to heart, trimming his body from a bulky 265 to a thick-shouldered, thin-waisted 245.
Holt enjoyed the way his teammates played on Friday as the Wonders racked up their third straight shutout.
ěOur linebackers played the option perfectly,î Holt said. ěEveryone was calling out their assignments and doing their jobs. Thatís how we shut out a good offense.î
The Wonders play at Mount Pleasant Friday. A fourth consecutive shutout would tie the school record.
ěI donít care at all about shutouts,î Galloway said. ěWhat I care about is our guys playing with the right technique. I want them to be perfect. If they do what theyíre supposed to do, then the shutouts will come.î

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