501 Football Team 2023: James Holder – Bald Knob

A first-round playoff exit left the Bald Knob Bulldogs hungry for more entering the 2023 season. 

With goals of winning more games and returning to the Class 4A playoffs, Bald Knob senior quarterback and linebacker James Holder has taken the reins and put in the work in order to accomplish his team’s mission.  

“I’ve always held a chip on my shoulder being smaller than most people,” Holder said. “At 5’10”, I’ve never been the most athletic. However, I’ve kept my head down and worked harder than anyone else in order to stand out.”

“James is an incredible leader and a great representation of what hard work looks like,” Bald Knob Head Coach Lonnie Roberson said. “He is always pushing himself and his teammates to be the very best on the field.”

As an All-Conference linebacker and the team’s leading tackler on defense, Holder believes that when it comes to the gridiron, only the strongest survive. 

“Our goal is to be more physical than anyone we play,” Holder said. “By never taking a play off and pushing through our injuries, our game plan is to play blue collar smash-mouth football between the first whistle and the last.”

Off the field, Holder enjoys hunting, fishing, playing baseball, trap shooting and giving back to the community he calls home. 

“I want to be remembered as someone who played with his heart and gave everything he had,” Holder said. “To future student-athletes, enjoy the game while you can. You’ll miss it when it’s gone.”