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It's all in the ohana for Higgins


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POSTED: Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Afternoon practice has ended at Saint Louis, and among the last people off the turf is quarterback Jeremy Higgins, playing the role of water boy. One would imagine a freshman hauling the large water cooler off the field. Instead, it's a senior who just happens to be one of the best quarterbacks in the state.

Higgins has made it look easy on the playing field, rated the state's top passer his junior year and reloading this year with a goal of taking the Crusaders to the state championship.

“;Jeremy is a great kid,”; Crusaders coach John Hao said. “;He's humble and one of those players who we don't have to coach as much. He's a leader on and off the field and does it by example. He is always here on the practice field right after school or study hall. He's constantly watching video or preparing in some other way. Jeremy is usually one of the first people here and last to leave.”;

A great deal of Higgins' success and character can be attributed to his family.

The middle of five children, Higgins has the benefit of two older brothers playing college football at Weber State: Cameron, a junior quarterback who was the 2008 Big Sky Conference offensive player of the year and Zach, a sophomore safety. Both are also Saint Louis alumni.

His father Jim played for the University of Hawaii and has coached at various levels. Younger sister Tayler plays volleyball at Punahou and was a member of the Junior Olympic team that won gold and silver medals for Hawaii in 2007 and 2008. His uncles also played prep ball in Saint Louis uniforms.

“;His leadership abilities and personal character come from the Higgins family blood,”; Hao said. “;He also has the benefit of talking to people like his brothers or dad who know more about football than just the score. They can talk about how to adjust to various defensive formations and employing different schemes. His whole family is like an extended coaching staff.”;

Higgins is already getting a feel of what it takes to play at the next level, thanks to Cameron.

“;I call him at least once a week. We're pretty close”; Higgins said. “;We talk about how our games went and compare stats. Cameron has played against a lot of the same schools and has a good idea of what they like to run so he gives me a heads-up on whoever we're playing next. It's a lot of fun.”;

Though separated by four years, Cameron has served as a role model, both as an athlete and person.

“;When I was in eighth grade, he was a senior so Cameron set a good example for me to follow,”; Jeremy said. “;When I was younger, my brothers were always involved in some kind of sports and I'd be there running around on the side and watching them. It's been cool to watch them grow up and become men. They've kind of paved the way for me.”;

According to his father, several colleges have expressed interest in Jeremy, including Hawaii, Utah State, Colorado and Boston College.

“;Jeremy knows there are a lot of schools interested in him, but he's putting that in the back of his mind for now,”; said his father. “;His main focus right now is the current season. He wants to take his team to the state championship and that is his primary mission.”;

Jeremy usually attends weekly church services with family, save the occasional mornings when he's too sore to get up in time. He says that it's assuring to know that “;someone is watching over him.”; Jim Higgins says that the family is very spiritual and faith is a very important aspect of their lives.

“;My wife Anne and I scratch our heads sometimes because the kids are doing so well. We really feel blessed,”; he said. “;We look at our family and we know it's not us doing it, I have to give honor to God. Jeremy and my sons have been fortunate because Saint Louis has a strong tradition on emphasizing spirituality, discipline and character.”;

Being a member of a large family also has the advantage of bringing its built-in cheering section. You can call it the ohana factor.

“;My dad is there at every practice and my mother is with the other moms up in the bleachers,”; Jeremy said. “;My whole family comes to every game. I don't feel like I'm on top of my game if I can't find them in the stands.”;