#50YARDCOUNTDOWN: 41-Holmes Blazes By Utah

This score may not have been the most important for the Gladiators that season, but that season was the most important for him.

DISTANCE: 41 yards

PLAYERS: Kevin McCabe and Brent Holmes

DATE: June 4, 2010 vs. Utah Blaze

FINAL SCORE: Gladiators 75, Blaze 39


#50 Yard Countdown


In the words of the late Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis: "Speed kills. You can't teach speed."

Brent Holmes had speed. Both speed and athleticism. At East Central High School in San Antonio, Texas, he was a local hero in football, basketball and track. In college, he excelled on both the football and track teams at Texas A&M-Kingsville, ranking in the top 20 on the school's all-time receiving list and posting top-five finishes in school history in the 4x400 relay (twice), 400-meter hurdles and long jump.

But after college, Holmes struggled to find a home in professional football, as his 5-11, 170-pound frame was considered too small to play at the highest levels. He played briefly in some lower indoor football leagues as well as two teams in the Arena Football League while teaching anatomy at East Central, his alma mater. He was almost done with football until his college teammate, two-time First-Team All-Arena defensive back Eddie Moten, put in a good word for Holmes to his AFL team, the Philadelphia Soul, in 2008. Holmes caught on quickly as a role player, helping Philadelphia to a win in ArenaBowl XXII.

Holmes brought a lot of confidence when he joined the Cleveland Gladiators in 2010: his speed was unparalleled; his fearlessness to crash into a wall, or snare a football out of the air made specators often wonder, "How?"

By the time the season reached Week 10 against the Utah Blaze, Holmes had put up better numbers with the Gladiators than he previously did with any other AFL team. In this game, he would pad his stats on the way to career-highs in each receiving category for a season.

Late in the fourth quarter, the game was well out of reach. The Gladiators defense was too much for the Blaze, collecting four fumbles and two interceptions and holding a comfortable 68-39 lead. Cleveland's starting quarterback, John Dutton, was on the bench, allowing rookie quarterback Kevin McCabe to throw the first passes of his AFL career.

With a little over a minute left in the contest, the 29-year-old second-year receiver used his patented speed to beat a hapless Utah secondary for his second touchdown of the night. McCabe heaved a pass 41 yards toward the goal line, Holmes turned his body and, while falling down,  secured the ball in his hands for the touchdown, adding yet another highlight to the Holmes' collection in the 2010 season.