If you want to talk about a D1-A MVP, few could claim the value of Army flyhalf Will Holder.
The West Point playmaker has been in the middle of the action all season long. It was his pass that set up the game-tying try against Navy (a pass he executed while being flattened by a defender). It was his touchline conversion that won that game.
On March 24 Kutztown scored five tries against Army, and kicked no conversions for 25 points. Army scored four tries, but two conversions, a penalty, and a drop goal from Holder got the Black Knights the win.
Need more? Against Penn State, Holder kicked two penalties, one from long-range, set up one try with his passing, and set up the second Army try with a steal and draw-and-pass. Hi converted both, from the touchline, and Army won 20-19.
You can’t make this stuff up.
The 6-2 flyhalf just seems to come up big, especially with his kicking.
“Kicking has always been something that I enjoy doing,” said the former age-grade Eagle Holder. “I try to get in at least a couple of kicks every day whether it’s a couple of drop goals at the end of practice or going down to the field early and spending 30-45 minutes [placekicking]. My big focus is getting my heart rate down, then keeping my head down. It helps me zone everything out and make every kick the same.”
This has obviously been important for Army, as Holder has had many pressure kicks this season, and continues to come through.
“The nerves in those games were definitely there,” Holder told RUGBYMag.com. “It helps to know I have a team behind me that would have supported me either way though. They are usually pretty quiet as I am setting up, except for our lock Aaron Retter who always reminds me of the quote, "Aim small, miss small" from the The Patriot as I am getting the tee.”
He doesn’t kick small, though. Check out the highlights of the Army v. Penn State game and you will see Holder kick with plenty of confidence. He has tons of range, as well as accuracy.
Not that it’s been all Holder, of course. The Army team as a whole has shown tremendous tenacity and patience in close games, which is one reason they are undefeated.
“The team atmosphere has been great throughout the close games,” said their flyhalf. “Our team has really been able to come together and bond in a way that we can just look each other in the eye and we know that we won't let each other down.”
So it's a team game, and the West Point team is a good one. But every good rugby team needs a guy who makes everyone else better, and kicks clutch goals. No one is doing that better than Holder, and he's RUGBYMag.com's Player of the Week