The young Lively quarterback displayed a deft touch on several passes, combined with a penchant for open field running, helping to lead Sudbury to a 42-21 win over the visiting Oakville Titans on Saturday.
Holub passed for four touchdowns and ran for two more, helping the Junior Gladiators overcome an early 7-0 deficit and building up a 28-14 lead by the half. Passing for more than 200 yards, Holub helped set the tone early, scrambling for 40 yards on his first two carries before later reaching the end zone on runs of two and 13 yards.
"The play-action pass usually works well, the defense usually bites," said Holub after the game. "It feels good when you dangle a guy — it's kind of like hockey."
In fact, allowing the good-sized pivot to take defenders on one-on-one in the open field proved very effective for the homeside. But it was quite likely the ease with which Holub was hitting receivers Jonathan Landry and Connor Chezzi, among others, in full stride that most pleased coach Kevin Ellsworth and the Gladiators organization.
"A couple of years ago, I was going into games nervous," he said. "Now, it's no problem. But when teams blitz a lot, it makes it harder."
After Oakville opened the scoring midway through the opening quarter, Sudbury answered, with authority, in quarter two. A fourth-down gamble paid dividends as Thomas Rideout, stepping in at running back due to injuries, busted 10 yards through the line, setting up Holub's first major from two yards out just 27 seconds into the second quarter.
A defensive stand provided the Gladiators another chance, but it was back-to-back offside penalties by the Titans that caused coach Ellsworth to forego a field goal attempt, with Holub running over and around a couple of defenders from 13 yards out.
The Gladiators sandwiched touchdown passes to Jesse Brear (27 yards) and Cam McDermid (three yards) around a second Oakville touchdown, garnering some momentum by adding their fourth major of the half with just 20 seconds to play.
After the Titans fumbled on their first play from scrimmage to start the third quarter, Sudbury put the contest out of reach, with Holub finding Brear from one yard out, later connecting with Chezzi from the 42, increasing the lead to 42-14 heading to the fourth quarter.
Kicker Matteo Vigna converted all six scores for the homeside, with the defense also proving opportunistic. Interceptions by Tyler Sinclair, Miller Donnelly and Sean Antonioni provided the Jr Gladiators with outstanding field position at various stages of this encounter.
The locals, who finished with a record of 3-4-1, will now enjoy a one-week break before taking to the road for the playoffs, likely facing the powerful and undefeated Burlington Stampeders ('96 team) in the divisional semi-finals.
Posted by Mark Gentili