Always on the field of play

Even halftime can’t keep Freedman, Holmes on sideline because both play three ways: offense, defense and band

Gavin Freedman and Johan Holmes take a rare sideline break on the bench during the freshmen team’s 60-6 win over Lanier on Oct. 11 at Nelson Field. About the only way to get the duo off the field is for there to be a blowout. The two were standout freshman players on both the offensive line and on defense, and they were key components of an award-winning drum line in marching band. Photo by Grace Nugent.

Grace Nugent, guest reporter

It’s game day for the freshman football team and two key players, Johan Holmes and Gavin Freedman, aren’t at the team’s mandatory morning lift … again.

But they aren’t slacking off. They are still working hard … at band practice, which is also mandatory, and is concurrent with the football weightlifting session.

While they haven’t managed the ability to be in two places at the same time, Holmes and Freedmen have managed to excel in football, band and academics in their first semester in high school.

Owen Linder and Johan Holmes perform during the marching band’s halftime show during the varsity’s 63-0 shutout of Travis on Nov. 9 at Burger Stadium. As a freshman this season, Holmes was able to negotiate his dual participation in marching band and freshman football on game days because the freshman team always played the day before the band had to perform at the varsity game. Playing football and band will get more difficult when he makes the varsity roster. Photo by Grace Nugent.





As football players, Holmes and Freedman are expected to participate in morning weightlifting, as well as practices in and after school.

As band members, they were expected to participate in morning practices, as well. You can see where the two conflict.

Committing to both band and football makes for tough, over 12 hour days, but they’ve found it to be very rewarding.

I play [football] because I love it. It’s the whole brotherhood, community and most importantly the game.

— freshman offensive tackle/bandit Johan Holmes

“I would wake up at 6 [in the morning] and then get to band by 6:45 and then football ends at 6:30 [in the evening],” Holmes said. “Sometimes I would stay 30 minutes after to work out because I missed morning lifts.”

Band and football are just parts of life for Holmes and Freedman. Both started band in sixth grade at Lamar.

“When I joined percussion I thought it was like drum set, and I thought it was like an actual rock band.” Holmes said. “Then they like told me to buy bell kits and stuff and I was like, ‘What is this?’”

The two have continued with band into high school love that band is a competitive activity but also one that creates a close-knit community.

“I like band because I really love playing my instrument and the music we do is very enjoyable,” Freedman said.

Football is an integral part of any Texas High School, and McCallum is no exception. Holmes plays left tackle on offensive line and bandit on defensive line, and Freedman plays right tackle on offensive line and nose tackle on defensive line. Both Freedman and Holmes have grown up playing football.

“I started in fifth grade,” Holmes said, “and I play it because I love it. It’s the whole brotherhood, community and most importantly the game.”

Both agreed that the benefits of football go beyond the game itself: it’s the brotherhood that most players remember.

Both Holmes and Freedman are valued on the freshman football team.

Gavin Freedman and Johan Holmes head back to the line of scrimmage after a stoppage in play during the freshman team’s 55-6 loss at Seguin. “It’s kind of embarrassing because this is not what this football team is about,” Holmes said after the disappointing loss. “We just have to practice hard because it’s all about the practice.” Photo by Grace Nugent.

“I remember in the Travis game, I got hit on the sideline,” said quarterback Jaxon Rosales, Freedman’s teammate. “When I got up I like shoved the dude, and I was like ‘Don’t do that!’ and then Gavin came up to me and was like ‘Yo chill out we just got the first down. We are having a good game,’ and that’s one of my memories with Gavin.”

Quarterbacks rely on their tackles to protect them from sacks, but Rosales said that Freedman is always there as a teammate.

“After you score a touchdown he is one of the first ones there ready to celebrate with you,” he said.

“Johan is … always doing weird stuff in the locker room that’s very funny, and … Gavin is the one person you can always talk to.

— freshman quarterback Jaxon Rosales

The boys are also appreciated in band. Holmes plays the bass five drum in bass line, and Freedman plays sousaphone.

“Our job is very important,” said Max Hoff, a fellow drumline member.

“We keep the tempo, and [Holmes] plays a lot of down beats at the end of our splits.”

This year the Mccallum Bassline won Best 5A Bassline at the Brandeis South Texas Classic Percussion Competition.

After a standout inaugural year, what does the future hold for these versatile freshman? Will they continue with band, football or both?

Holmes plans to continue to split his time between both, and Freedman is unsure of his future with band.

Regardless, Holmes and Freedman’s teammates are very excited that they’re both planning to continue with football.

“They’re both amazing,” Rosales said. “Johan … he’s the hype man of the team he always does chants, and he always doing weird stuff in the locker room that’s very funny, and Gavin is always just there. He is the person you could go to when your mad about a loss or something. Gavin is the one person you can always talk to.”