From left, #2 Brenten Jones, #51 Devyn Billiot, #79 Khristion Redwell, #59 Madison Little, #56 Ashton Holmes, #9 Mathew Adams, #10 Aymiel Fleming, #12 Marcus Mathews.

Playing football together since seventh grade, La Marque High School football players Ashton Holmes, Devyn Billiott, Marcus Mathews, Kristion Redwell, Madison Little, Brenten Jones, Mathew Adams and Aymiel Fleming fight for excellence on the field. They also stand out in the classroom, taking dual credit and Collegiate High School classes at College of the Mainland.

“We see each other every day. We have different classes, but we keep each other posted on them,” said Aymiel Fleming. “We push each other.”

Marcus Mathews, dual credit student, agreed.

“It’s a bond that we have,” said Mathews, who took dual credit classes his sophomore and junior years and takes all classes at COM as a Collegiate High School student this year.

Mathews admitted juggling a full practice schedule with college can be challenging, but “there’s nothing hard work can’t fix.” Harvard, Penn State and Columbia University were interested in Fleming, and he recently accepted a full athletic scholarship to the University of Houston.

Dual credit student Kristion Redwell said the group helps each other in class and on the field.

“We’ve grown up together. We have team chemistry. We’re friends outside of football.”

For La Marque High School valedictorian and COM Collegiate High School student Ashton Holmes, time management is key.

“It’s very hard to have a 3.5 GPA in college and play sports. I’m not the only one struggling,” said Holmes. “It’s a lot of prayer and motivation from my teammates and friends.”

Brenten Jones said the group helps each other balance sports and school.

“Sometimes we have projects. We have little study groups. I put my schoolwork before anything. Football comes second.”

As a dual credit student, Jones also had the opportunity to talk with COM advisor Earl Alexander about his post-high school plans.

“I sat down with Mr. Alexander and he told me to pick out 10 things I’m good at. He helped me find what job would be a good fit,” said Jones, who plans to go to University of Houston for audio engineering.

For Devyn Billiot, dedication has already paid off. He was accepted on scholarship to study kinesiology at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene.

“(I got) started on college early. (Dual credit classes) aren’t too hard. They just can be time-consuming,” said Billiot.

Madison Little agreed.

“It’s definitely worth it. It’s going to help me better myself for the future,” said Little, who plans to earn a business administration degree at University of Houston.

In COM Collegiate High School, Mathew Adams is on his way to earn an associate degree in general studies.

“It will help my family financially to knock out two years of college in high school,” explained Adams, who plans to attend University of Texas San Antonio and major in mechanical engineering. “When I do finish, I can start my career two years earlier.”

For Adams, excelling in the classroom and football field springs from the same character trait.

“You have to persevere. You have to keep trying even when it gets hard, kind of like on the football field - you just have to keep going.”

For more information on the COM Collegiate High School or dual credit program, visit