The Mandeville Skippers had just let it happen; they let an undermanned Ponchatoula team score a touchdown to tie the score at 13 with only a few seconds remaining in the half. The Green Wave had taken the momentum and appeared primed to take it with them into the locker room.
That's when Ponchatoula's head coach; Mike Biamonte's worst fear became a reality. His kicker dribbled the kickoff… so as to keep the ball away from Mandeville's Chris Houlemard.
"Let it go!! Let it go!!" Houlemard screamed to his up-men. The blockers let the ball roll all the way to the 25 yard line, and Houlemard picked the ball up off the ground in a full sprint. He flew through the mass of Ponchatoula
defenders, he ran right, then left, then he tight-roped the sideline all the way to the end zone to close the half with a 75-yard touchdown.
"He's a lightening-fast runner," said a frustrated Biamonte. "If you give him
any kind of opening, he can do things like that to you."
"My speed, quickness, acceleration, vision and determination," Houlemard listed
when asked what gives him an edge on the football field, "determination not to
be taken down."
Conrad Houlemard enjoys watching his son play.
"He's exciting," explains Conrad. "I expect a big play on every touch. He has speed, quickness, desire to win and great hands."
When asked what Chris' weaknesses on the football field were, Conrad responded
Chris is the holder for field goals & PATs, he returns punts, he returns kickoffs, he plays quarterback, and he plays running back. He is the team's possession receiver as well as its deep threat. He likens his play on the field
with former USC and current New Orleans playmaker Reggie Bush.
"Recruiters are telling me that I'm a playmaker," Houlemard says. "They say I
have the potential of going all the way every time I touch the ball."
Chris is hearing from a number of colleges. ULM, Louisiana, Columbia, Southern Miss, McNeese, Appalachian State, Arkansas State, NSU and Butler have all shown
interest in the 5'9" 165 lb athlete who thrives in Mandeville's spread offense.
Houlemard is familiar with UL, attended camp in Lafayette this offseason prompting Conrad to familiarize himself with the University.
"(Louisiana) seems well-coached and has a good academic reputation," explained Conrad. "Playing nearby would be a plus; however we haven't made an ‘official'
visit. Chris was invited to the camp with a team mate, and he attended."
Chris did visit Sun Belt Conference member Arkansas State when they hosted Troy
a few weeks ago.
"I had fun," said Chris who did recognize that Troy runs the exact offense that
"In five years I'll still be in college, playing football and studying law,"Chris added. "My senior season has been going good, but I feel like we could be doing so much better… we are currently 4-3."
Chris is fast, really fast. He runs a 4.4 forty and he's very quick. He has great hands and plays much, much bigger than he is. He reminds Cajun fans of a mixture of Nick Dugas from Crowley and Darren Brister from Independence. He's a tough player who wants the ball and rarely, if ever puts it on the ground.
"I have learned from my coaches lots of ways to get rid of defenders while running my routes," Chris added. "We practice that so much that it has become second nature to me. "I just want our team to meet our potential and expectations."
With Chris Houlemard, the potential and expectations are there. He boasts a
33" vertical, bench presses 270, squats 350, scored a 23 on his ACT and maintains a 3.2 GPA. He attended the prestigious Under Armour combine in the Georgia Dome, and in addition to camp at Louisiana, he also camped at Northwestern.
He's waiting for his first written offer, something he does between games.That offer will come with even more expectations, and Chris is ready.
Mandeville's Chris Houlemard Getting Looks
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