LONGMONT — With all the numbers the Holy Family football team has posted through the air this season, Tigers junior Michael Zeman has gone quietly about his business as a third-year varsity player.
But nights like Thursday night against Niwot prove how versatile — and vital to the offense — the tailback is for the as-yet-to-be-stopped Tigers. Coming in averaging 10.6 yards per touch, Zeman impressed even more at Everly Montgomery Field in a 47-20 win for the visiting team.
There was electricity nearly every time he had his hands on the football, and it amounted to 219 total yards and his 11th and 12th total touchdowns as Holy Family moved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the Class 3A Northern League.
Keeping his shifty ability while gaining some weight over the offseason has been crucial to his success, and with Thursday’s total he is already near 1,000 yards for the year.
“Mikey’s getting better and better every week, and so’s our offensive line,” Holy Family coach Mike D. Gabriel said after the victory. “He’s a guy that rotated in at tailback and fullback last year, but he gained 20 to 25 pounds in the offseason like we asked him, and he’s become more physical and making good reads. Just seeing the field real well right now.”
“It’s not just me, our offensive line is working so hard in practice and getting holes that I can see,” said Zeman, who tallied 74 rushing yards and 145 receiving yards on 12 touches. “In our specific position drills, (the running backs are) always working on our cuts and our tracks. We’re all like that, I think.”
Though Niwot (0-5, 0-2) showed much improvement in its own offense and gained some life midway through the second quarter on an 86-yard Aidan Tollefson kickoff return for a touchdown, Holy Family needed just 31 plays in the first half to gain a 44-7 advantage.
One of Zeman’s touchdowns came with 10 minutes, 23 seconds to go in the half, a 38-yard screen pass on the first play after a fumble recovery set them up in plus-territory. That made the score 30-0, and the Tigers’ starters sat most of the second half after gaining the running clock.
Quarterback Chris Helbig, who only played one possession in the second half, finished with 282 yards and four touchdown passes, two of them to Kyle Helbig.
For Niwot, starting quarterback Blake Montgomery went 13 for 24 with 156 yards and two touchdowns. After having problems catching the ball last week, the Niwot receivers again had some key drops but also made some solid catches.
Six different receivers contributed, with Montgomery hitting Alex Oelsner and Jeremy Hollingsworth for touchdowns in the second half.
“We’ve been working concepts, and working concepts … and now they’re finally starting to take hold of the concepts,” Niwot coach Dylan Hollingsworth said. “I’m proud of them for their growth. You’ve got to grow, and now you have to learn to do everything right. Hopefully we’ll get there.”
Holy Family 47, Niwot 20
At Everly Montgomery Field
Holy Family (4-1, 2-0) 22 22 3 0 — 47
Niwot (0-5, 0-2) 0 7 7 6 — 20
Holy Family — Chris Helbig 1 run (AJ Giron pass from Helbig). Holy Family — Kyle Helbig 1 pass from Chris Helbig (pass failed). Holy Family — Joe Golter 61 interception return (Golter pass from Helbig).
Holy Family — Michael Zeman 38 pass from Chris Helbig (Bryce Buderus pass from Helbig). Holy Family — Kyle Helbig 27 pass from Chris Helbig (Phillip Elliott kick). Niwot — Aidan Tollefson 86 kickoff return (James Lerner kick). Holy Family — Zeman 37 pass from Helbig (Elliott kick).
Holy Family — Elliott 20 field goal. Niwot — Alex Oelsner 12 pass from Blake Montgomery (Lerner kick).
Niwot — Jeremy Hollingsworth 33 pass from Montgomery (kick failed).
RUSHING — Holy Family: Michael Zeman 6-74, Chris Helbig 4-25, Will Domier 2-3, Andrew Callaway 4-29, Joe Geist 2-1. Niwot: Blake Montgomery 15-56, Chris Jensen 4-10, Aidan Tollefson 2-7, Jeremy Hollingsworth 2-10.
PASSING — Holy Family: Helbig 16-24-0-282, Geist 0-2-0-0. Niwot: Montgomery 13-24-1-156.
RECEIVING — Holy Family: Zeman 6-145, Kyle Helbig 4-43, Travis Montoya 3-43, Joe Golter 2-27, Bryce Buderus 1-13, AJ Giron 1-11. Niwot: Alex Oelsner 5-53, Tollefson 3-40, Zach Kinnison 1-22, Hollingsworth 1-33, Chris Jensen 2-4, Nate Nielsen 1-4.