When the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys lined up with 10 players on defense in their season opener against Southern Nazarene, they weren’t trying to make the news or be discussed all over the nation. They just wanted to show respect and love for their fallen teammate, Zemaric Holt.
Holt played defensive lineman for the Wonder Boys. He died in an accident on July 19 at the age of 21.
The decision to line up with 10 players was head coach Raymond Monica’s idea.
“We felt that was a good way to honor an outstanding young man and an outstanding football player,” Monica said.
On that same play, the Wonder Boys recovered a fumble for a touchdown. The play quickly received national attention and was featured on the Twitter feed of ESPN and other major sports media outlets.
“Who would ever dream of that?” Monica said.
Holt’s teammate, Logan Genz, a senior from West Fork, said “It was surreal. There was definitely a higher power with us on that field. All the emotions we’ve dealt with over the summer and leading up to the first game, that play triggered the entire team to have energy throughout the game.”
That energy showed as the Wonder Boys clobbered Southern Nazarene 62-14.
On Holt, Genz said, “He was one of those players a team needs as a role model. He always had a positive attitude, he always wanted to practice and work out. His smile would light up any room and he’d always keep spirits lifted.”
“We’re happy this blew up like it did—to be able to honor him on a scale this large is great,” Genz added.
Holt’s family attended the home opener against Oklahoma Baptist, where Holt was named team captain for the game. His jersey was taken to midfield for the coin flip.
Holt’s presence will remain with the team throughout the season. The Wonder Boys will continue to wear ZH on their helmets, break huddles with “Z90” and bring Holt’s jersey to every game.