Porter returns to lead Helias offense


Helias quarterback Wyatt Porter pitches the ball to running back Nik McCurren on an option play during the Crusaders’ intrasquad scrimmage Saturday night.

Helias quarterback Wyatt Porter pitches the ball to running back Nik McCurren on an option play during the Crusaders’ intrasquad scrimmage Saturday night. Photo by Kris Wilson.

To a layman, listening to the quarterback call the play in the huddle would be like hearing a foreign language for the first time.

The series of phrases, letters and numbers would likely sound like gibberish. But to the players, it tells them what they should do on each snap.

Only one player has the responsibility to know what each and every one of his teammates is expected to do. That’s the quarterback.

“I can see where it might be confusing, but it makes sense to us,” Helias quarterback Wyatt Porter said Saturday during the Crusaders’ picture day.

In a normal game week, Helias will have between 100-110 plays ready to run at any time.

“That’s not easy to learn,” Helias head coach Phil Pitts said. “The quarterback has to know it all and Wyatt is a perfectionist.”

Porter, a senior, is entering his second season as a starter.

“Playing quarterback in your second year makes a big difference,” Pitts said. “We saw that a couple of years ago with Jay Shimmens, there was a great progression from his junior to senior season.

“Wyatt has a better grasp going into this season of knowing our offense, knowing where everybody should be, what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Porter agrees with that assessment.

“I’m a lot more comfortable this year,” he said. “Last year at this time, I wasn’t sure I was going to be the starter and I was fighting for the job. But this year, I feel confident.”

Helias quarterbacks coach Brandon Coleman can see that in Porter’s ability to take things from the film room to the practice field.

“He’s more mature, he has a better grasp of the offense and is a really good leader,” Coleman said. “The time that we have to spend installing plays with him is so much shorter than it was last year. We can talk big-picture rather than having to break down all the reads and progressions he has to go through.”

It was a great junior season for Porter, who was named all-state by the Missouri High School Football Coaches Association. He established Helias regular-season records with 136 completions and 20 touchdown passes. Porter also had the majority of a record 2,158 passing yards.

“It was a good year last year, but we can do better,” Porter said. “I believe we’re going to do better.”

Counting the postseason, Porter finished 194-of-326 through the air for 2,571 yards and 26 touchdowns. He was second on the team in rushing with 535 yards and tied for the Helias lead with eight touchdowns on the ground.

“If Wyatt plays at the top of his game, he could break every passing record we have,” Pitts said. “He has that kind of ability. And in the run game, he can be force and we’re going to use that as a weapon.”

Helias likes to add things to its offense throughout the season. Pitts believes with Porter’s familiarity with the attack, the Crusaders will be able to add wrinkles to the wrinkles each and every week.

“In the spread offense, with our multiple formations, there is so much we can do,” he said. “We’re already doing what I would call ‘complicated’ things and that’s because of Wyatt’s experience.”

Both Coleman, a former Missouri Tiger quarterback, and Pitts believe Porter can play at the next level.

“He’s a smart kid, really talented and driven,” Coleman said. “I think he’d be a great pickup for any school.”

Pitts is similar in his thoughts about Porter’s future.

“He’s going to play on Saturdays somewhere,” he said. “I know there are a lot of college coaches watching his film and drooling over having him join their program.”

Pitts believes Porter is ready for a big season.

“The position of quarterback can come with a lot of praise, but it also has a lot of responsibility,” he said. “That’s the nature of the beast and Wyatt is ready for it.”

III

Later Saturday, Porter and his Helias teammates participated in a Blue and White scrimmage at the school.

Porter and his White teammates got the better of the Blue, posting a 28-0 victory.

“We saw some good things, but there are obviously things we still need to work on and that’s why we have scrimmages like this,” Pitts said.

The coaches attempted to divide the varsity squad as evenly as possible, even though the final score may not show that.

The Blue team had their chances to score and finished with 12 first downs to 16 for the White.

“I liked the way the Blue team moved the ball, but they turned it over too much and didn’t finish drives when they had the opportunities,” Pitts said.

The run game appears to be strong this season as running backs Garrett Buschjost and Nik McCurren of the White team, and Brock Gerstner and Dustin Tomblinson of the Blue squad, all had strong scrimmages.

There were just a handful of penalties called during Helias’ first work with officials and there were no injuries on the varsity side.

Helias will travel Friday to St. Clair for a Jamboree along with Rolla and Poplar Bluff. Action starts at 6 p.m.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Please review our Policies and Procedures before registering or commenting

News Tribune - comments