ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — Ready to create some buzz with the Yellow Jackets.
On Wednesday inside Meigs High School’s Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium, MHS senior Zach Helton signed his National Letter of Intent to join the West Virginia State University football team.
“It means a lot to me,” Helton said of signing to continue his football career. “I like the brotherhood, everybody is really close to each other and it’s honestly the most fun sport for me, I love it. Coach Bartrum is always talking about it at practice, the next level and how much mental toughness comes with all of that. Good luck to the Marauders next year and good luck to Lane (Cullums).”
Cullums also signed to play at the next level on Wednesday and will compete against Helton as part of the University of Charleston football team. Helton and Cullums are the 13th and 14th Marauders to embark on a college football journey under MHS head coach Mike Bartrum.
As a junior, after 13 catches for 82 yards and a touchdown in three games, Helton was thrust into the starting quarterback role in the fourth game of the year, following a season-ending injury to Cody Bartrum. Helton went on to pass for 955 yards and 10 touchdowns, completing 76-of-146 pass attempts. In total, Helton rushed for 334 yards and six touchdowns on 89 carries as a junior.
For his efforts, he was named to the All-Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division team. Helton landed on the Division IV All-District first team as an all-purpose player, and was selected as a Division IV All-Ohio honorable mention.
Helton began his senior year as Meigs’ starting quarterback, but was injured in the opening game and missed the next four contests. Zach returned to the gridiron for the final five games and finished with 708 yards and eight touchdowns on 52-of-107 passing, to go with 50 yards and one touchdown on the ground.
“You think about the pressures of anybody when your quarterback goes down and the next thing you know, you’re thrown right into it,” Coach Bartrum said. “He didn’t shy away from being coached, he kept putting more time in, watching film and did a great job for us last year.
“How he got hurt is his mentality,” Bartrum added. “Zach trucked that kid, I felt bad that he blew his shoulder out, but he trucked him and that’s his mentality, he’ll run though a wall for you. That’s what it takes to make it at the next level and West Virginia State got a good one.”
On Wednesday, Helton joined 28 others to sign with West Virginia State, which was 6-5 on the gridiron last season.
“When I went there, their coaches were the ones to show the most interest in me,” Helton said of choosing WVSU. “It seemed like the best fit and it’s not too far from home. The coaches are all really cool, nice and friendly, they kind of remind me of Coach Bartrum honestly, they’re great guys.”
The Yellow Jackets are an NCAA Division II program that competes in the Mountain East Conference, and WVSU is located in Institute, W.Va.
Helton will have a Civil Engineering major at West Virginia State and may look play as a slot receiver.
“They can put him at strong safety, at slot receiver, or at quarterback,” Coach Bartrum said. “Whatever they ask him to do, he’ll do it, and he’ll give all of his energy to it. When you’re looking at kids, that’s what you look at, and if you get about 5-or-10 of those kids, you have a pretty good football team.”
Helton is in the top-10 of Meigs’ 2018 graduating class, holding a 3.94 grade-point-average. In addition to football, Helton has also picked up varsity letters in baseball and basketball.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.