GREENSBORO — During Ian Holder’s career with the Mount Airy Granite Bears football team, most college recruiting services listed the 6’0”, 180-pound student-athlete in exactly that manner, as “ATH,” for multi-position athlete. Holder, the son of longtime MAHS head coach Kelly Holder, played quarterback, wide receiver, defensive back and kick returner during his four years on the team.
During Wednesday night’s East-West All-Star Game at Jamieson Stadium in Greensboro, the West coaching staff took advantage of Holder’s versatility to burn the West on a big play.
The East led for much of the game, and after holding a 7-3 edge at halftime, pushed its lead to 14-3 with 8:07 left in the third quarter. However, the West rallied with three unanswered touchdowns and led 23-14 before the East scored with 15 seconds remaining to produce the final score of 23-21.
Holder’s big play came when he was in the game as a receiver late in the third quarter and the West was still trying to come back, trailing 14-10. The East had driven down to the West 28 following a West score, but were stopped on downs. Unfortunately, the ensuing drive didn’t begin well. A holding penalty on second down, on a play where Holder had hauled in a reception from quarterback Gunnar Anderson (Alexander Central), left the West facing second-and-20 at its 18-yard line.
On the next play, Anderson went looking for Holder again, but in a less conventional way. The quarterback threw a lateral into the right flat to the soon-to-be Morehead State Eagle, and the play looked for all of the world like a busted screen. Holder had to evade a would-be tackler as he headed toward the sideline to his right. Finally, he pulled up and threw deep in the direction of Dylan Bryan (Independence), who caught 70 passes for 1,077 yards during his 2017 season. Bryan, who will play for Division II Concord University in the fall, hauled in the the pass for a 37-yard gain and a first down at the East 45.
The drive didn’t lead to the go-ahead score for the West, which ended up losing the ball on downs at the East 16 with 1:51 left in the third, but it did succeed in flipping the field. The East was unable to move the ball effectively on its next series, and after a penalty and a sack put them inside the 10-yard line, Cody Hendrix (Davie) recovered a fumble by East quarterback Josh Jones and returned it for a touchdown with 22 seconds left in the third.
The West added an insurance touchdown on a 57-yard touchdown pass from Anderson to Tykel Landrum (Hendersonville) with 6:29 left in the game, and clinched the win by recovering an onside kick after the East’s last-gasp score in the final seconds.
In addition to the pass he threw, Holder had significant time at receiver in the game and caught three passes, the most important being a nine-yard reception from Malik Sarratt (Shelby) midway through the third quarter that moved the West down to the East 4-yard line. McKinley Nelson scored on the next play to make the score 14-10.
Landrum caught five passes for 97 yards and was named as the game’s offensive MVP.
New Mount Airy head coach Jasson Adkins was a member of the West coaching staff, although he was listed on the roster as representing East Wilkes, his old team.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.