The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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You could say that Eric Holmes, Clay High School's 2008 City League Scholar-Athlete of the Year award winner, had a lot to live up to.

Holmes' older brother, Craig, was awarded the 2006 Ohio High School Scholar-Athlete Award in 2006. Craig, now a student at the University of Toledo, played the same three high school sports as Eric - football, basketball and track - and also excelled in the classroom.

"I look up to him and I like to do better than him, usually," Eric said. "We like to make fun of each other. He always calls me a nerd. He's just a jock to me."

One athlete from each of the CL's 13 schools receives an annual scholar-athlete award. Eric Holmes was nominated by Clay football coach and athletic director Mike Donnelly.

To be considered for the award, a student must be in the top five percent of his or her class academically and must excel in at least one sport.

"Since he played three sports and is ranked second in his class, that kind of clinched it for me," Donnelly said. "It was kind of obvious he was our scholar-athlete of the year because he excels on and off the field, which is exactly what they are looking for. He's a very deserving kid, an outstanding young man, and we're going to miss him in the football program."

Clay's CL Scholar-Athlete of the Year winner last year was Trevor Ault.

Holmes is a two-year starter in football and was the starting point guard in basketball his junior year. He also ran the first leg on the Eagles' 4x400 relay team that won the CL title and advanced to the regional meet.

Holmes said being named Clay's 2008 CL scholar-athlete winner is "pretty cool." The CL awards were handed out Nov. 3 at the SeaGate Centre.

"Finally, the hard work is paying off from all the years of studying and playing sports," said Holmes, who has a 4.321 GPA. "I never knew when it was going to pay off. I didn't think about getting awards now, it's so early (in the school year)."

A 6-0, 150-pound cornerback for Donnelly's Eagles, Holmes' senior season was limited to just three games after he tore his ACL the third week of the season against Springfield.

"A pile came down on my foot, which was planted," Holmes recalled. "My foot was planted and it pushed my knee in toward my body. It hurt pretty bad. I couldn't move my leg when it happened, so I knew something was wrong."

At that point, Holmes said, he figured his senior football season was over.

"It all hit me on sidelines," he said. "After the guys went out at halftime I was sitting by the locker room with my dad (Don). I was pretty upset. I put all the hard work in for two-a-days to play three games. I didn't know if I was going to be able to play basketball at all, so that would be two sports (ruined) my senior year."

Holmes went to see a doctor on Nov. 6 to see if he can begin therapy on his injured knee. He said he could be back in action in January, "so I would still get to play some basketball."

Holmes' mother, Karen, a first-grade teacher at Riverside Elementary School, said the family is very proud of Eric for taking care of business in the classroom while excelling on the athletic field.

"He works hard. It's not easy," she said. "A lot of times he comes home from practice and studies and goes to bed, then he gets up and does it all over again. We're proud of him for sticking with all that. He never argued with me about taking all those AP and honors classes. He was willing to try them and did very well in them."

Holmes is president of the National Honor Society and is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.