Illinois High School Football News

Bryce Helms, Isaac Attig having a ‘friendly competition’ for Storm quarterback job

Bryce Helms (left) and Isaac Attig are vying for the starting quarterback duties for the Bureau Valley Storm. Attig say it's a friendly competition and they are helping each other out.

MANLIUS - Adam Johnson held down the quarterback position for the Bureau Valley Storm the past two seasons.

This year, it’s wide open. Both sophomore Bryce Helms, who has never played the position before, and senior Isaac Attig, who saw limited duty on the sophomore team, are vying for starting honors.

Most kids dream about playing quarterback. Helms wasn’t so sure about it when Storm skipper Mat Pistole first approached him.

“I was a little nervous because there’s a lot of responsibilities. But it’s a good role to have and take advantage of the opportunity. Having the ball in your hands every play, being in control, being more of a leader.”

Pistole said Helms was concerned at first that if he played quarterback, they wouldn’t let him play defense, too.

“I love the attitude, but of course we’re going to let him play defense, too,” Pistole said.

Attig also welcomes the extra responsibilities playing quarterback brings.

“There’s more leadership and the ability to control the game,” he said. “You’ve got more responsibilities on your shoulders. A lot more people rely on you to do your job. The whole play is based on you. You start it and it goes from there.”

Most of all, Attig said, “It’s definitely a friendly competition,” between the two, and “we’re both pushing each other.”

“He helps me a lot because he’s older. He has more experience with it, so he helps me a lot,” Helms said.

Bureau Valley sophomore quarterback Bryce Helms

Helms comes from a long line of quarterbacks in his family, including his father, longtime Bureau Valley coach/teacher Bret, who saw time behind center for his hometown Morrison Mustangs, as did his uncle Brock.

“I hope I’m better than my dad,” Bryce said jokingly.

Most recently, Nathan Helms, Bryce’s cousin and Brock’s son, was the quarterback for Morrison’s 11-1 1A quarterfinal team in 2019 and the COVID-19 spring season of 2021.

“He’s got a lot of lineage. There’s a bunch of quarterbacks in that family,” Pistole said.

Helms said he has talked to his cousin and picked up some pointers.

“He always tells me the most important part is carrying out the fakes and everything. I definitely would like to talk to him more, but he’s talked to me as much as he could,” he said.

Pistole said there’s pluses and minuses in having an experienced quarterback and a new one.

“As a coach and a guy who likes to develop, it’s fun to kind of start from scratch,” he said. “When you have a kid like Adam, who took control the last couple years, and we were always on the same page and talked the same language, it did make things easy.

“But as a coach, it is fun to be challenged and start over and teach somebody raw how to play the position. And that’s part of it.”

Pistole doesn’t foresee a shared position. He said the best man will win the job.

“In each position, it’s going to be whoever gives us the best chance to win. And these kids understand that and know that and are willing to do whatever,” he said. “It is a competition, but at the same time, it’s us trying to put the right puzzle pieces in the right spot.”

The Storm coach said whoever is not playing quarterback will play elsewhere on offense, either at running back or receiver, along with their defensive duties.

Freshman Brandon Carrington is showing promise at quarterback, too, Pistole said.

“He’s doing a nice job in camp. Think there could be a future there, too, if he continues to develop,” he said.

Storm have a real Lemon(s)

Cameron Lemons, a junior linebacker, has returned to football after taking a year off. Pistole said it’s great to have him back.

“He is pound for pound the strongest player on the team and a gym rat. We are thrilled to have him back and expecting big things,” he said.

Great Scott

Junior linebacker Connor Scott returns as the Storm’s leading tackler, looking to step up his game and be a good role model.

“[I have to] lead by example for the other kids. Take the lead when it’s needed, keep good energy among the team,” he said. “Keep working hard. Show up every day. Do the little things right and the little fundamentals. And have a love for the sport.