The North Daviess defense has Helms very excited about the improvement of a unit that surrendered 40 or more points in six games last season. When asked what he has seen on the defensive side of the ball in summer practices, Helms summed it up in one word.
“Speed,” Helms said. “We’ve seen a lot of speed. We have speed across the board defensively, not only in the secondary and the linebackers, but up front as well. I think these kids need to understand that alignment is 80 percent of defense. If the defense will get aligned right, I’m certain they will do their jobs.”
Helms has seen some upperclassmen taking a leadership torch and stepping up on the field to lead a defense that must be improved if the Cougars want to make a run toward a sectional championship since 1993.
“Logan Turpin at cornerback, he’ll be a third-year starter at corner for us,” Helms said. “It’s great to have a kid with that much experience in your defensive backfield. (Doug) Bays will be a second-year starter at safety. We’re going to have some youth cornerback and another secondary position with sophomore Jacob Reed and Jordan Allen we moved from outside linebacker to safety and Nate Gingerich from outside linebacker to safety as well. Inside linebacker has been solid with (Colton) Lengacher and (Andrew) Steffey — they were solid last year and we expect a lot of tackles from both of them. Brady Helms will add some strength to the outside linebacker position. Junior Mavryk VanHentenryck, who had an outstanding sophomore season will man the other outside linebacker.”
An underrated aspect of each game is special teams and kick coverage, and Helms said starting field position is so important, especially in high school football. Due to an injury, (Shannon) Chesterfield won’t be resuming his place kicking duties, instead Helms has a competition between senior Steven Cox, Jordan Allen and junior Alyssa Allen for the starting position.