With barely a minute left in the third quarter of Scotland’s rout of the Anson Bearcats, backup quarterback Cross Holfert’s number was called.
A bruising run by junior running back Tre Thomas later, and Holfert found himself in a red zone situation. And looking to head coach Richard Bailey for the call, Holfert was honored by the responsibility handed to him.
Holfert had the option of passing, handing the ball off or taking it in himself for the score.
“Coach Bailey called the triple option play for me,” said Holfert, who currently plays behind sophomore signal-caller Jaylend Ratliffe. “We’ve practiced that play quite a bit in practice, and it felt good that coach counted on me to make the right decision with the football.”
Lining up at the goal line, Holfert noticed an Anson cornerback was shifting towards one of the Scotland wide receivers lined up in the flats, leaving the middle of the field open. Seeing this, Holfert opted to run the ball himself, and the result was a seven-yard touchdown which was his first in a varsity Fighting Scots uniform.
The dive into the end zone is the latest in a long list of athletic accomplishments for Holfert, most of which are proudly displayed in the Holfert family home. From photographs to memorabilia, nearly every honor earned by Holfert has been preserved.
But perhaps the most striking memento of all is the glass case hanging in the lounge area of the Holert house. Inside the case are 22 baseballs, every one a home run ball that Holfert himself has hit since the age of nine when he first started playing for the Laurinburg Elite travel baseball squad. The most recent ball is dated June 18th, 2012, the date of Holfert’s very first game as a member of the Scotland varsity baseball team which also happened to be his first ever at-bat with the Fighting Scots. This also coincides with Holfert’s first ever at-bat in a travel ball uniform, which was also a home run.
Not bad for a kid that will turn 15 years of age early next year.
“Cross always played against the older kids, and I think that’s made him a better ball-player in the long run,” said Terry Holfert, father of Cross who also collected all of his son’s home run baseballs. “In between football and baseball, Cross has never stopped working at becoming a better athlete. He’s had no days off, but it’s that love of the game which has gotten him to this point.”
Success has come in near-equal abundance for Holfert as he learned to balance baseball (his first love) and football throughout the years. At 12 years old, Holfert was selected as the starting quarterback for the Scotland Parks and Recreation All-Stars, and his time at Sycamore Lane Middle School yielded even more accolades.
In seventh grade, Holfert’s Sycamore Lane baseball team secured a conference championship when Holfert hit a game-winning 2 RBI triple. He was voted “Male Athlete of the Year” in his eighth grade year after winning 2012 MVP honors for the Bucks’ football and baseball teams.
Subsequently, his athletic career at Sycamore Lane drew the attention of the Fighting Scots, and it led to Holfert getting a shot on a varsity baseball squad entirely comprised of older players during the summer league this past summer.
”I was honored to play varsity with the older guys on the team,” Holfert said. “It shows me that I work every bit as hard as the upperclassmen do. I feel like I can do the same as them.”
As the starting quarterback for the Scotland junior varsity football team, Holfert has currently helped his team build a 3-2 record as they prepare for their game with Purnell Swett this week. Holfert’s goals for the season include leading the Fighting Scots to a winning record and conference championship.
And as soon as the football season ends, Holfert plans on resuming his baseball regimen, which includes daily visits to the batting cage and fielding repetitions. Though he hasn’t participated in travel baseball due to his football obligations, Holfert hopes that he will earn a spot on the varsity Scotland baseball roster when the spring season rolls around.
But as he observes his freshman quarterback and the work ethic he exhibits on a daily basis, Bailey sees a bright future for Holert no matter the path he takes.
“He’s one of those guys that can do well no matter where you place him on the field,” Bailey said. “His dad swears that Cross could be a good linebacker too, but the bottom line is that he’s too good of an athlete to not have on the field in the future. He will go a long way if he sticks with it, that I do know.”