Holder holds her own
I-S junior plays in state title game
By Greg Seubert
Years from now, Ana Holder will have quite a story to tell her kids.
She’ll be able to tell them how she helped Iola-Scandinavia High School win its first state football championship.
The reserve offensive and defensive lineman was on the field at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison for the final three plays of the Thunderbirds’ 43-13 win over Racine Lutheran Nov. 15 in the WIAA Division 6 state championship game.
Holder is the second girl in as many years to suit up for a state championship football team. Savannah Curtis kicked a 30-yard field goal and two extra points in Lodi’s 17-10 win over St. Croix Central in last year’s Division 4 title game.
“That’s crazy to think about,” Holder said. “It’s really mind-blowing being one of those people leading the way.”
The T-Birds’ 14-0 season included several lopsided scores, which meant that Holder and the team’s other backup players were able to see action in varsity games.
“I played in all of the JV games and got into most of the varsity games.
Holder, a junior, played right guard on offense and right end on defense.
“I don’t really remember why I started, but one of the reasons was people just telling me I couldn’t,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Well, I am and you really can’t do anything about it.’”
The T-Birds scored touchdowns on their first five drives to take a 36-7 lead early in the second half, so Holder figured it was only a matter of time before she’d get the call.
That call came as the T-Birds took over on their own 36-yard line with two minutes to go in the game.
“It was kind of scary,” Holder said. “I needed to go through all the plays in my head, but I trusted the guys next to me and I knew we’d get it done.”
The game’s final play included a of fumbles. Racine Lutheran’s James Wilson recovered Cole Erdmann’s fumble and returned it 29 yards, but he fumbled and Erdmann recovered the ball as time expired.
“I was picking up the kid that fumbled and then some kid tossed me,” Holder said. “I tossed him back and we were running down the field together.”
She said she didn’t realize the game ended on the play.
“I didn’t even notice that time ran out before everybody was running down the field and I was like, ‘Oh, we’re done,’: she said. “We all screamed.”
Now that the season is over, Holder is looking forward to her senior year, which will include another season of football.
“People understand it’s a family, but to actually be on that team, you don’t understand how much of a family it really is,” she said. “I know this family has my back.”
What would Holder tell girls thinking of joining a football team?
“You’re going to get a lot of disencouragement,” she said. “People are going to tell you you can’t. You’re going to have to work harder because you don’t have the same muscle mass as the boys. It’s going to be a lot of work, but if you want it, you’re going to get it.”