Dustin Helm is one of the Mustangs’ spiritual leaders who packs a punch with football – Orange Leader
Dustin Helm is one of the Mustangs’ spiritual leaders who packs a punch with football
Posted at 12:10 a.m. on Thursday, September 1, 2022
WEST ORANGE – A true player with a big heart.
Whether in physical or spiritual form, West Orange-Stark running back and junior linebacker Dustin Helm is here to pump up his Mustangs teammates.
After getting a few college shots last year as a sophomore, getting Helm off the court is tough this season.
In the Mustangs’ season opener, Helm was the leading WO-S running back, carrying the ball 11 times for 107 yards in a 32-0 win over the Netherlands.
“It was exciting to get out there and chase him out of the backfield,” Helm said. “You have to give credit to our offensive line. They made big gaps and we felt like we were going down all the time.
Helm is really enjoying the extended playing time this season. He will play a lot in attack but will also see time in defense.
“It’s a whole new feeling this year,” Helm said. “I was getting used to everyone a bit last year. I soon realized it was a whole different ball game, going from JV level to college. Last year’s opportunity, which I’m grateful for, really showed me how much work I still have to do. My goals in the offseason were to get bigger, stronger and faster.
Head Coach Hiawatha Hickman enjoyed watching Helm flourish.
“Dustin has really made his presence felt here and made a great relationship,” Hickman said. “He really found his place in the running game. He runs hard, he blocks hard. He’s just tough, tough, tough. We like to call it our “Swiss Army Knife” and we also like to call it “Red”. He sets a good example of what we expect from our children.
Helm has kept busy non-stop, has become a lot more chiseled and feels he finds holes and gets through them quicker after two scrums and the opener.
“We had a great offseason program before, but now it’s even better,” Helm said. “Coach (Cory) Bell came here and really pushed us hard as a strength coach. He rides us hard, but he’s got a lot of love for us too. He knows what he’s doing for sure. course, with the great university experience he has. It would be difficult to find a team in better shape than us.”
Helm is instrumental in ensuring the Mustangs are prepared before each game as he gives the pre-game prayer.
“God and my spirituality is something that I really cherish and I have so much passion in my heart for people,” Helm said. “I love saying the prayer so I can really help uplift my teammates. We all go through things once in a while and pray together and be there for each other, that’s what it’s all about.
Helm was one of the organizers of a group prayer on the WO-S sideline with Dutch players last week after Dutch returning player Isiah Hernandez, who had been on the pitch for a while, suffered a concussion cerebral.
“It’s a moment I will always remember. Of course we played football that night, but it was also about being human and being compassionate,” Helm said. We may not have been on the same team, but we are all footballing brothers. Football is not bigger than life. Joining hands and being one was special. I’m so grateful that Isiah is okay.
Hickman appreciates the leadership tendencies Helm shows, despite being a junior.
“Dustin has tremendous faith. It starts at home and he has an amazing family,” Hickman said. “He’s the perfect kid to pray at every game and he always has his Bible close at hand. He’s just an amazing young man in every way.
Helm likes the attitude of the Mustangs as the season slowly moves on.
“Coach Bell insists that you have to have four pillars – spiritual, mental, emotional and physical – if you don’t have them all, things can fall apart,” Helm said. “That’s what we rely on so much here. We are all here not only to be the best players we can be, but also to be as good as the people off the pitch.
Helm has typical goals for a Mustangs student-athlete.
“The goal is always to win the district, make a run in the playoffs, and try to get that state ring,” Helm said. “Coach Hickman likes to use the phrase ‘327 miles’, that’s how many miles it is from here to Dallas for the State Championships. He also preaches that we have a lot of miles to go too. It’s a day-to-day, week-to-week drudgery, and we can’t get ahead of ourselves.That’s when someone can get you.