It’ll be a San Diego State football team minus a Holder and won’t that be strange.
The Aztecs cap this season against Army at the Armed Forces Bowl on Saturday. Mikah Holder, a former Oceanside High star, will be among Carlsbad High’s Christian Chapman’s main targets.
But when Chapman takes aim next season, Holder won’t be around. The senior is playing his final game with the Aztecs (10-2) as they try to knock off the Black Knights (9-3) on that day’s lone bowl game.
“We’re going to be ready to go,” the 6-foot, 185-pound Holder said. “It’s exciting.”
It’ll be different after the game when there won’t be a Holder on the Aztecs’ roster. Before Mikah made his mark, older brother King lettered for the red-and-black from 2011-13.
King, a solid defensive back at Oceanside, didn’t miss a SDSU game.
Mikah didn’t skip a chance to follow in his brother’s cleat steps. While he considered the University of Utah, among other schools, the lure of SDSU was too strong to stiff-arm.
Mikah will try to give the Army secondary the similar treatment. He paces the Aztecs with 43 receptions and 602 yards and he’s added two touchdowns.
Chapman, at some point, will try to click with his North County colleague.
“It’s Mikah’s last game so we’re going to let him go out with a bang and hopefully get him some yards,” said Chapman, a junior.
Although this affair will be more about the yards gained on the down-low.
Rasheed Penny, the nation’s leading rusher and an All-America selection, will be looking to catch Donnel Pumphrey for the school’s single-season rushing mark. And the Black Knights’ hard-nosed, option-oriented running game is the best college offers, grinding out nearly 356 yards per game.
“I think they are the most physical and the most aggressive team we will play this year,” SDSU coach Rocky Long said.
Not for long is the Holder name at SDSU. It doesn’t seem that long ago when Mikah was the new Holder on SDSU’s block. Since King preceded him, Mikah heard all about him.
“When I came here, all the older guys would tell me he was the nastiest guy on the field,” he said. “When I came here I tried to take that same mentality. I’m not trying to be afraid of anybody when I’m on the field.”
He’ll be on a football field representing for the last time come this weekend. But don’t worry, Chapman has the victorious script worked out: Penny passes Donnel Pumphrey for the school’s single-season rushing mark and the youngest Holder finds the end zone.
“A win, Rashaad to beat the record and Mikah to get a touchdown and a career high in something, just give him the ball,” Chapman said. “Get an all-around good win would be a good way to end it with those boys.”
The outing’s significance isn’t lost on Mikah.
“Being in our last game means a lot,” he said. “Playing a good team like Army, I know some players on that team. It’s going to be a fun game. Being out in Texas and us having some players from there I think we’ll have a good crowd. The atmosphere is going to be electric. We’re excited, all the way from the seniors down to the freshmen.”
It’s a feeling that stretches across the entire Holder family, too.
Contact Jay Paris at email@example.com. Follow him @jparis_sports
Sportswriter Jay Paris has written his “Sports Talk” column since joining the Coast News in 2013.
Paris, a Cardiff resident, is a longtime Southern California writer, getting his start with the Orange County Register before coming to San Diego in 1992 to cover the Chargers.
He had the Chargers beat for more than two decades with Oceanside Blade-Citizen, the North County Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, before being named a sports columnist with the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Paris has won numerous awards voted on by his peers in the Pro Football Writers of America. He has also been a staple on countless media platforms, everything from the KPBS to MLB Network and various radio outlets.
Paris is also the author of three books, with his latest one being, “Shohei Ohtani: The Amazing Story Of Baseball’s Two-Way Japanese Superstar.” He has also written “Game Of My Life Chargers” and “Game Of My Life Rams.”
He currently covers the NFL in Los Angeles for Forbes. com and is a contributor to USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow Jay on Twitter @jparis_sports