Penn Hills grad Hollis Mathis making mark at William & Mary
Hollis Mathis played a crucial role on a Penn Hills team that won the program’s first PIAA title since 1995. Now, Mathis has taken his talents to William & Mary.
Mathis’ collegiate career has started in a noteworthy fashion as he has been named the Colonial Athletic Association rookie of the week for two of the first three weeks of the season.
Most recently, Mathis received the honor after completing 11 of 19 passes for 189 yards with a touchdown and rushed for 62 yards on 13 carries with another score to lead William & Mary (2-1) to a 38-10 victory over Colgate on Sept. 14.
“It means I’m doing my job. It’s something that means I can produce on the field, which is something I knew I could do. It still falls short of the individual accolades I’d like to get,” Mathis said.
“As Coach (Brennan) Marion likes to say, ‘Good isn’t enough.’ I could get no honors as long as I’m helping my team win. That is the real accolade I’m looking to get.”
In the opening week of the season, Mathis first earned the honors after rushing for a game-high 127 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown and completed 6 of 13 passes for 66 yards in a 30-17 win over Lafayette.
The 6-foot-2, 170-pound quarterback has been splitting time with senior Kilton Anderson, a grad transfer from Coastal Carolina. Mathis became the Tribe’s first true freshman quarterback to start a season opener.
Heading into the fourth game of the season, Mathis ranks seventh in the CAA in rushing with 66.3 yards per game.
“Coach Marion has a very good job of keeping the quarterback room very team oriented. We’re really big on whoever is the best guy for the week to put points on the board is the guy we like to put out there,” Mathis said.
“It’s a really healthy environment because quarterback rooms can be really volatile, but it doesn’t feel that way since we are all striving to get better.”
During his senior year at Penn Hills, Mathis finished with 2,800 yards passing with 40 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Mathis added 468 yards on the ground.
However, Mathis felt at home immediately when he stepped between the lines in his first game against Lafayette. Mathis said he thinks the play at the FCS level is a little faster and hits are a little harder, but it’s still football.
“We came out and scored on the third play. It eventually got called back and everyone knew I was going to score,” Mathis said. “As I handed the ball to the ref, I saw a humungous amount of people happy I scored. It was a great feeling to hear the crowd screaming and to see my teammates so happy.”
The Tribe lost to Virginia, 52-17, on Sept. 6.
Even though he has moved on to college, Mathis hasn’t forgotten about his high school teammates as he participates in a group chat that includes Daequan Hardy, Corey Thomas, Tank Smith, Devin Best and Ric Martin.
“It’s been great since I’ve been able to put on for the hometown. They’re happy for me and I’m glad I could make them proud,” Mathis said.
In his first-year at William & Mary, coach Mike London has been trying to establish a winning culture with the Tribe. William & Mary is looking to improve on a 4-6 record from last season.
“Whenever I get my number called, I will make sure I’m ready for whatever the team needs me to do. I’m ready to play my part on the team to get us wins,” Mathis said. “It has been some time since we had consistent success. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get these guys back on top.”