ECU commit Holton Ahlers among nation's top returnees in total offense

Holton Ahlers has a unique distinction as the quarterback at D.H. Conley (Greenville, N.C.).

Last October, his team lost 77-67 to J.H. Rose (Greenville) in the highest-scoring game in North Carolina High School Athletic Association history. He accounted for 581 yards, among the most in state history.

The scoring record lasted a game.

In its next outing, Conley beat C.B. Aycock (Pikeville), 83-68. Ahlers accounted for 618 yards to set the state mark.

“That game was crazy,” Ahlers said of facing Aycock. “I remember on the first play we scored an 80-yard TD on a slant, and going to the sideline, I was telling the offense to stay focused.

“It seemed like as soon as I said that Aycock scored. It seemed like whoever had the ball was going to score. It just was when, not if.”

In the state 4A playoffs, Ahlers posted 602 yards in a loss against Cardinal Gibbons.

By season’s end, Ahlers had performances that were ranked first, second and fifth in total yards in state history.

Efforts like that helped him account for more than 5,400 total yards – 4,503 passing and 911 rushing.

He enters the 2017 season among the returning national leaders in total offense.

He threw for 51 touchdowns with nine interceptions and for 15 touchdowns.

“I don’t really worry about the numbers aspect of the game,” he said. “It is nice to put up some of the numbers me and my teammates have put up, but generally speaking, the only number I care about is the number in the wins column.

“My job as a QB and a leader of this team is to put them in the best situation to win the game and I don’t care if that’s throwing for 500 yards a game or running for 200. As long as we win, I’m happy.”

At 6-4 and 235 pounds, he has size in the pocket, but doesn’t lack the speed to be mobile.

He is ranked as the No. 14 dual-threat quarterback and the No. 16 player overall in North Carolina in the Class of 2018 by Top247.

He committed to East Carolina in January over North Carolina State. That will create a special opportunity for his father, Morgan, who is the East Carolina public address announcer and also a sports talk show host in the area.

“ECU was just a great fit for me and my family,” Holton said. “Being in my hometown, it’s a dream come true to be able to have that opportunity to play in front of my friends and family and city.

“It will be a special three or four years not just for my family, but for this city and its people.”

Before he moves the six miles from Conley High to the ECU campus, Ahlers has more to accomplish as a high school senior. Conley opens Aug. 18 at Northeastern (Elizabeth City).

“I’m just working on my overall game,” he said. “I am looking to improve my footwork mostly and just to get more comfortable in the pocket.

“You can never be too good at the little things. I’m learning more of the game and I watch a lot of film to prepare myself for every situation possible.”

He also is working on his accuracy as this video confirms: