By: John Raffel
Montabella passing combination tough to beat
Charlie Helmer passing to Jemikal Papendick. For Montabella football fans, that's a beautiful combination.
Helmer at quarterback and Papendick at receiver have been churning up the yards for the Montabella offense. It all started in the season opener with a 34-32 win against Evart.
Helmer threw for three touchdowns to Papendick and ran for two more to lead the Montabella attack and overcome a powerful Evart rushing game. With 5:50 to play in the game, Montabella struck, with Helmer passing 90 yards to Papendick for a touchdown. Helmer ran for the two-point conversion to make it 34-32, Montabella.
“The key was we weren't able to defend No. 2,” Evart coach Pat Craven said, referring to Papendick, who caught seven passes for 213 yards. “We scored 32 points and we're double covering him. He made plays and we didn't.”
“They're both seniors,” Montabella coach Dave Clay said of Helmer and Papendick. “They've been playing varsity with me for three years. Those two guys, they're leaders on the team. All the players draw off from them. When they're doing well, all the other guys step up their game. They lead by example.”
Papendick admits that catching the football provides plenty of personal pleasure.
“It was a lot of fun; everyone was pumped,” he said, adding that on his 90-yard play, “the other guy thought he was going to intercept it and it fell into my hands. It worked out perfectly. I have the ability to have people miss easily. And I have the speed.”
Papendick has been catching passes from Helmer since middle school.
“It helps a lot,” he said. “Our timing is perfect and everything. We can do pretty good if we stay consistent. Our line has to be consistent and stay low.”
“The timing is just textbook,” Helmer said. “I just want to give him the ball in space and make people miss. He's got great speed. I find the right spot to put it so he can have a good chance to make people miss.”
Helmer is in his second year as quarterback for the Mustangs.
“I've got more experience, which is helping out,” he said. “Our offensive line plays excellent. I think we should be able to run the ball. The passing game has been so open that we utilize that.
“We moved Jemikal around and put him in different positions so he could get some open coverage.”
Helmer focused a lot of his time on basketball during the off-season, and then began preparing for football in the summer. He's been a quarterback since his freshman year.
“I definitely think we have the weapons so this could be my best season,” he said.