By JUSTIN RAINS
Cayuga senior Don Holly calls himself a realist.
Holly — a star on the Wildcats football team —knows that, even though his football career is extending past high school, the odds of it extending any further are slim.
So, he kept that in mind when making the decision on where to continue his career. In the end, it led him to sign Friday with Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
“It was everything,” Holly said of how much academics factored into his decision. “I just want a better life for me. I’m a realist and I know football is a short-lived life and I know that I need something after.
“Saying I played football will be great, but saying I got a degree will be even better.”
Holly chose Northwestern over an offer from Southeastern Oklahoma State University, as well as interest from both Columbia and Army.
NWOSU — located in Alva, Okla., near the Oklahoma panhandle — went 4-7 in 2012, the program’s first playing at the Division II level. Previously, the Rangers played in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
Northwest does enter 2013 with some momentum, after the Rangers lost their first seven games in 2012 before winning their final four.
The team plays in the Great American Conference, along with teams like Southeast Oklahoma State, Arkansas Tech and Ouachita Baptist University. The Rangers are coached by Alan Hall, a long-time junior college and Division II assistant in his second year on the job.
Holly, who led Cayuga in tackles in 2012 en route to district Defensive Player of the Year honors as well as an honorable mention nod on the Associated Press’ Class 1A all-state team, said he thinks he can step in and help the Rangers right away.
“I know I can go into Northwestern and I can play right away and be productive,” he said. “And, I can be the best student-athlete I can be as well.”
Holly is the fifth member of Cayuga’s Class of 2013 to sign to play college athletics, joining Preston Anderson (basketball, University of Hartford), Chris Hardy (football, Southeast Oklahoma State), Chantz Holland (baseball, Vernon College), and Shawnta Knox (volleyball, North Central Texas College).