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Zach Holmes (33) earned three WSFL POW Awards (and an NJCAA Defensive Player of the Week Award as well) in his first 8 starts.

Zach Holmes

Sunnyside Football Player, Class of 2007

Matadors place 13 players on WSFL & Region I Football Teams
Jim Howell
Nov. 17th, 2009

Zach Holmes named to All-Region I’s 1st Team also earned spot on the 2nd All-WSFL Team, helping the Matadors win their first Western States Football League regular season title since 1981 (ranked 6 in the nation).

Zach Holmes may be the most underappreciated member of the vaunted Matador defense. The Tucson, Arizona, native was the unquestioned leader of the defense all season long, setting a precedent in Week 1 with a 3-sack, 11-tackle performance against Snow, and easily finishing the regular season as the team leader in overall tackles (84), solo tackles (33) and assisted tackles (51). He was also 3rd on the squad in sacks (5) and tackles for loss (74), and earned the WSFL Defensive Player of the Week Award twice.

Holmes earns WSFL Defensive Player of the Week Award again
Jim Howell
Oct. 6th, 2009

Matadors’ sophomore linebacker takes honor for 2nd time in ’09, 3rd time overall

Yuma, Arizona – October 6, 2009 -- Arizona Western College is proud to announce that AWC Football player Zach Holmes has been named the Western States Football League Defensive Player of the Week for the week ending October 4th. It’s the second time in the first five weeks of the season that Holmes has earned the accolade, and the 3rd time in his Matador career. It’s also the fifth time that a Matador has won a WSFL Player of the Week Award this season. The announcement comes just three days after the Matadors shut down the 5th-ranked Eastern Arizona Gila Monsters, 27-2, Saturday night in Thatcher.

For opponents who face him, they probably see Holmes’ on-field maturity as a sign that he’s been a starter ever since he arrived on the AWC campus. Actually, Holmes has earned three WSFL POW Awards (and an NJCAA Defensive Player of the Week Award as well) in just 8 career starts over his three-year Matador career. An AWC redshirt in 2007, Holmes bided his time last season until getting his first start on November 1st, and promptly put in a performance against New Mexico Military Institute that warranted his first WSFL Player of the Week honor. This season, he picked up where he left off in 2008 by being all over the Badger Stadium field in Week 1 against defending WSFL Champion Snow College and garnering both the WSFL and NJCAA Defensive Player of the Week Awards. This past weekend, with the regional and national spotlight shining squarely on the matchup between the 5th-ranked and 7th-ranked teams in the nation, Holmes was the leader of a Matador defense that turned back the nation’s top rushing offense. Holmes thwarted a potential Eastern Arizona scoring drive midway through the 2nd quarter by ripping the ball out of EAC running back Melvin Loving’s hands for a turnover. Then, in the 2nd half, Holmes was one of the main Matadors responsible for preventing the Gila Monsters from even reaching the Matador side of midfield with a trio of tackles for lost yardage and 11 tackles overall. For the season, Holmes is easily the team leader in overall tackles (48) and solo tackles (23). He’s also tied for the team lead in sacks with 4, and has recovered one fumble. He’s also making waves on the national stat sheet as he’s 2nd in the nation with 55 yards accumulated in the 9 tackles he’s made for a loss; and he’s also among the nation’s top 30 in assisted and overall tackles.

Holmes named NJCAA Football Defensive Player of the Week
Jim Howell
Sep. 12th, 2009

First Matador defender to win national honor since 2006

Arizona Western College’s Zach Holmes has been selected as the NJCAA Football Defensive Player of the Week for games September 3rd through the 6th. Holmes is the first Matador to receive the award since Max Fairclough won the award in September of 2006.
Zach Holmes (6' 1", 210 lbs.) was the leader of Arizona Western defense that guided the Matadors to a 35-17 upset of then No. 4 Snow (Utah). The loss was the first at home for the Badgers since 2004. Holmes had a game-high 11 tackles (8 solo, 3 assisted), along with three tackles for loss, three sacks and one forced fumble. His performance also earned him Western States Football League Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Bullock, Holmes named WSFL Players of the Week
Jim Howell
Sep. 8th, 2009

Matadors’ stunning win at Snow propels them from 24th to 16th in NJCAA Poll

Yuma, Arizona – September 8, 2009 -- Arizona Western College is proud to announce that AWC Football players Reggie Bullock and Zach Holmes have been named as Western States Football League Players of the Week for the week ending September 6th. Bullock was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Week after just one game as a Matador, and Holmes was named the WSFL Defensive Player of the Week for the second time in his Matador career. The announcements come just three days after the Matadors ended Snow College’s 25-game home winning streak with a 35-17 win in Ephraim, Utah, Saturday afternoon.

Bullock has barely had a chance to call somewhere other than Las Vegas, Nevada, his new home, but he certainly found himself at home in the Snow defensive secondary and beyond Saturday afternoon. The Las Vegas High School alum came to preseason camp to battle sophomore George Conley for the starting tailback job, but AWC Head Football Coach Tom Minnick decided to find a way to use them both effectively in the same backfield. Bullock first showed his nose for the end zone two plays into the second quarter by finding a seam and exploding through it for a 17-yard touchdown run. Bullock amassed a very solid 71-yard 1st half on the ground, staking the Mats to a 21-3 lead. In the second half, Bullock continued to churn out yards, falling just short of the 100-yard mark before the end of the 3rd quarter. That set the stage, however, for Bullock’s breakout 4th quarter. After the Matador defense forced a fumble at the goal line that gave the Mats the ball at their own one-yard line, Minnick decided it was time to give Bullock a chance to show what he could do. On 2nd down from the 4, Bullock stunned everyone in the stadium by breaking tackles and heading 96 yards to the end zone. On the day, Bullock finished with exactly 200 yards on just 16 carries, and also caught 4 passes for 19 yards.

Meanwhile, ever since Holmes broke into the Matadors’ starting lineup last November, he’s been nothing but stellar in his play. Holmes was one of only two returning defensive starters that lined up for the Mats Saturday, yet he helped show his freshmen teammates how the game was played. Holmes and the defense began applying pressure immediately on Badgers’ Preseason All-American quarterback Quinn Mecham, knocking him out of the game in two different series. Holmes made several hits in the 1st half that-while they weren’t counted as sacks-changed Mecham’s ability to complete passes consistently. In the second half, Holmes took over, sacking Mecham early in the 3rd quarter and then plowing Mecham down on the quarter’s final play for another sack. After Bullock’s incredible fourth-quarter run, Holmes made sure there would be no Badger comeback by registering his 3rd sack on Mecham just three plays later. Finally, when the Badgers were making one final attempt to stay in the game, Holmes came barreling through the line again, hitting Mecham right as he released the football, resulting in Holmes’ fellow linebacker Maurice Alexander’s first career interception. The Tucson native finished the day with 3 sacks and 11 overall tackles.