Under center and on the sidelines, Whitmer's Nick Holley and head coach Jerry Bell have helped guide the Panthers to a perfect season thus far. Ahead of their state semifinal game this week, the two earned respective honors as player and coach of the year in the 2012 All-Blade Football Team.
On the cover of The Blade’s 2012 high school football season preview section, four talented returning quarterbacks from the Three Rivers Athletic Conference were posed in front of an airplane with the headline “Air Attack.”
Whitmer senior Nick Holley was not in that picture.
But, as the season enters its 14th weekend with state playoff semifinals on tap, the Panthers’ quarterback has flown higher and is more worthy of a solo cover shot than any area player.
Jerry Bell was just shy of his 16th birthday as a sophomore football player at Whitmer High School in 1988 when he first formulated his dream career.
Bell, who was a senior two-way starter for the Panthers two years later, made it a goal that sophomore year to one day become a teacher and Whitmer's head football coach.
The first part of that goal was reached shortly after he graduated from the University of Toledo, and these days Bell is a social studies teacher at Jefferson Junior High, one of Whitmer's two feeder schools.
Meet the rest of the All-Blade Team