HELENA – Kyle Mihelish learned a lot during his first year as head coach of the Helena Capital football program. Mihelish, a long-time assistant with the Bruins – as well as stops with Great Falls High, Carroll College and Montana Western – guided the program back to the playoffs after a one-win season in 2014.
“One thing I learned about myself last year was learn to be patient and delegate and trust the guys that you work with and hire,” he said. “Once you coach those kids just let them go.”
Mihelish and the Bruins graduated a bevy of talent from the 2015 team, but he’s confident in the underclassmen that gained experience on the field.
“We do lose a lot from last year but we do have a good core group coming back,” Mihelish said. “I think our strength right now is our offensive line. We get two of the five starters back and we’ll fill in with some good-sized kids. I look at us to be able to run the football this year.”
Capital also returns Carter Pappas at the quarterback position.
“We learned that we need to work hard in the off-season and keep everything rolling,” Pappas said. “We really learned leadership and I think that will help us this year.”
Like many teams, the Bruins attended camps throughout the summer months – including stops in Bozeman and Missoula – giving athletes a chance to gel before the season officially began.
Like Mihelish, Pappas was quick to give credit to the offensive line. Two starters – Connor Quick and Carson Shuman – return, giving the quarterback some experience up front.
“It’s nice to have that,” Pappas said. “I’m really comfortable this year knowing that our offensive line is good. That will definitely help us in all phases of the game.”
The Bruins open their season on Friday, August 26th at Billings West – also a playoff team from a year ago. Capital will spend the first few practices in helmets only before adding full pads, but preparation for week one is already underway.
“It’s quick, we only have a two week turn-around, so we have to get as much done as we can,” said Mihelish. “They’re long days – we’re going to do two-a-days through next Thursday. Then we have our brown and gold game and then it’s game week. We just have to make sure we’re taking care of business while we’re here at Capital High.”
“We just want to come out here with excitement and enthusiasm, work hard and everything else will take care of itself,” added Pappas.