Teammates sign with St. Ambrose

Dylan Polk TimesNewspapers
Metamora seniors Nick Holman, second from left, and Matt Callear, second from right, sign letters of intent to attend St. Ambrose University at Davenport, Iowa, in the fall. Seated next to Holman are his father, Eric Holman, and mother, Danni Holman. Seated next to Callear are his mother, Lori Callear, and father, Brian Callear.

Since their flag football days, Metamora seniors Nick Holman and Matt Callear have been more than teammates — they’ve been best friends.

Now, the two football standouts are taking their game to the college level together.

On Thursday, Holman and Callear both signed letters of intent to attend St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa.

For both, the chance to continue playing together wasn’t necessarily coordinated, but it is certainly a perk.

“We’ve been playing together since we were in flag football. It’s really cool that we’re going to continue playing the next four years together,” Holman said.

Callear echoed those sentiments.

“I love playing with him; he’s been my best friend since kindergarten,” Callear said. “I’m glad we’re playing for another four years together.”

In 2014, Callear was named a first team All-Mid-Illini Conference linebacker.

That same season, Holman was named first team All-Conference quarterback.

As the Redbirds quarterback during his senior season, Holman threw 66 for 118, good for 1,385 yards and 15 touchdowns, throwing just three interceptions.

Callear notched 99 tackles for Metamora on defense in 2014, and shared in a sack for a 23-yard loss during the Redbirds’ 45-6 win Sept. 12, 2014, at Morton.

In addition, Callear rushed for 156 yards on offense, scoring five touchdowns.

Metamora head coach Pat Ryan said he expects his two seniors to contribute at the college level over the next four years.

“It’s a big step. I think they realize that first year is about getting acclimated to the program and learning the different system,” Ryan said. “They both came to their own conclusion at different times; I don’t think they mapped this out, that from Day 1, they were both going to St. Ambrose, and I think that’s a good thing. I think they came to the conclusion that they wanted to be there for different reasons.”

Ryan’s son, Sam Ryan, a 2013 graduate, also plays at St. Ambrose. Ryan said that familiarity with the program lends some knowledge to what Holman and Callear can expect in college.

“I think they’ll both have the opportunity to play. … I know the coaching staff. I know what they’re about, the kind of character they’re developing at St. Ambrose,” Ryan said. “Yes, football’s important there, but getting a degree and all the things you like to see in a college program. I’m excited for them because I know the kind of program they’re getting into, and I think they’re both going to have the opportunity to have a great career there.”

Though they are looking forward to contributing on the field, both Holman and Callear said they are also looking forward to their education. Holman will major in exercise science, and Callear in business.

“I’m just looking to become a better quarterback and just excel in the classroom, get a degree and go on to do better things in life,” Holman said.

Callear added he’s looking to “get a degree first, then play football and have some fun.”