Team effort leads Helper Jr. High Rams to undefeated season and CVAA Championship
Teamwork can lead to good things. That's what Helper Junior High's head football coach Phil Howa tells his players each and every year.
For the 2013 season, Howa has proven to be quite prophetic with his philosophy.
Helper completed a perfect 6-0 season with a 50-14 win over rival Mont Harmon Junior High on Thursday, Oct. 10 to secure the Castle Valley Activities Association football championship.
"It was a total team effort all season long to get to this point," said Howa. "Our kids just continued to get better and better as the season went along."
Helper took a 30-0 lead into halftime against their rivals on cold and rainy afternoon at Carbon High. With a lot of the younger players getting a chance to play in the rivalry game, Howa said they stepped up and played well in the game.
"It was really exciting to see a lot of our younger players get a lot of playing time and they showed a strong effort in their time on the field," said Howa.
Before the season began, Helper dealt with a unique situation. Due to the construction on the roads near the school, playing home games was not an option. That left the Rams having to play every game away from home, which was a bit of a hurdle to overcome.
"The kids whined and complained about not being able to play at home," Howa said with a laugh. "We worked on putting that aside and focused on playing well." Howa said Mont Harmon stepped in and allowed Helper to use the field as their "home" for the season.
"That (playing away from home) will probably never happen again but we just worked on trying to not make it a big deal," said Howa.
With 19 ninth graders on the team, Helper was not lacking leadership and experience on both sides of the ball. Howa credits that leadership with helping the team overcoming a possible turning point during a game against San Rafael on Sept. 18. Down at halftime, Helper orchestrated a second half comeback to win the game 36-16.
"That was a pivotal point in our season," he said. "The kids stepped up in the second half and got the big win."
For the Mont Harmon Junior High football team, the final record doesn't reflect on everything the team was able to accomplish. MHJH head coach Jarad Hardy said the team's season was "filled with ups and downs" but they continued to play hard in each and every game.
"I think we have the players coming up in the program that will help us be successful in the future. We had a very close team in terms of togetherness and they worked hard all year. We had a lot of young players playing this season but the experience they gained will help us in the next few years," said Hardy.
With the CVAA football championship in their possession, Helper has now won two out of the last three seasons and has compiled a 15-3 record over that time.
"When you go 6-0 in a season, that says a lot," Howa explained. "Our kids did everything we asked of them, they never quit learning and I don't think we could have asked for a better outcome to the