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Setting Records While Showing Sportsmanship

Heading into this weekend’s games, I wanted to draw some attention to the effort turned in last week by Harrisonburg (Va.) junior Michael Holmes, who put up some numbers that will be hard to surpass without compromising sportsmanship.

The 6-foot, 195-pound Holmes rushed for a Virginia state-record-tying eight first-half touchdowns in Harrisonburg’s 69-27 victory over Lee-Staunton. He finished the game with 413 yards rushing, all but 23 coming before halftime, when the score was 56-27. Holmes only carried twice in the third quarter before taking the rest of the night off, which is something that should be applauded. Holmes, who finished seven yards short of the school’s single game record, and 87 shy of the Virginia High School League mark (set by West Springfield’s Damone Boone in 1995) , could have easily stayed in the game to pad his stats and probably put him name all over the record books. Instead, he and the Harrisonburg coaching staff were content to let his two-plus quarters of action stand on their own without running up the score on Lee. Bravo.

“It would be very hard for anybody to get that many touchdowns again," Harrisonburg Coach Tim Sarver told the Daily News-Record. "I mean, that's just something we don't do. Usually, if we're up three touchdowns, we're usually going to put somebody else in - four touchdowns, at least.”

Besides, Holmes might be putting together a record-breaking season, given what he did his previous two games.

In a season-opening 21-17 loss to Handley, Holmes rushed for 228 yards on 29 carries, including a 99-yard touchdown that tied the game at 14 going into halftime.

The following week, Holmes put up 273 yards and five touchdowns on just 12 carries – all in the first half - in a 48-20 victory over Rockbridge County. Here was another case where Harrisonburg could have left Holmes in the game to pile up more yards. With the game well in hand, up 41-6, Holmes took the second half off and Harrisonburg coasted to the victory.

According to the Daily News-Record, Holmes hasn’t received any recruiting interest, because he hasn’t shown the breakaway speed BCS conference schools seek in running backs. He attended a camp at nearby James Madison. That’s like a kid from DeMatha making a trip up Route 1 to Maryland.

But with 914 yards in three games – two of which he only played half – Holmes could make a run at the VHSL record books. Powell Valley’s (and subsequently Virginia’s) Thomas Jones has the state record of 3,319 yards, but that was set in 14 games.

Harrisonburg hosts Heritage-Lynchburg on Friday night. Even though he doesn’t face any teams from the Washington area the rest of the way, Holmes’ statistics are worth paying attention to this season.

By Alan Goldenbach  |  September 25, 2009; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  VHSL , state records  
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