The Reward

Hard work, loyalty, teamwork and finding a role do pay off in the long run. Just ask WR/Holder Richie Contartesi and Safety George Helow, seniors who were recently awarded scholarships by Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt. Read about it inside.

Laboring day after day, week after week, year after year in relative obscurity and for little reward other than being a part of something and the love of the game, can't be an easy thing to do.

That's been the plight of senior Safety George Helow and senior Wide Receiver Richie Contartesi, two good football players who just have not been able to crack the significant playing time barrier in their Ole Miss careers, but have been front and center trying to since the day they arrived on campus as walkons.

Recently, they were rewarded for having all the right qualities every coach is looking for with scholarships during their final season by Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt.

"Every player on our team is special, but George and Richie hold a special place for us," said Nutt.

Richie Contartesi

"They help set an example for everyone on the team. They work extremely hard, they push their teammates to excel, they support the team and they never complain. Young men like them deserve a reward. We have decided to put them on scholarship their final year."

Both have stayed the course and, in the end, figured out a way to get on the field in vital roles.

George is known as a kamikaze-like wedge buster and contain man on the kickoff team and Richie as the all-important holder for field goals and extra points.

"They both have proven they can be trusted with those roles, and those jobs are important," said Nutt. "Nothing can demoralize a team like a long kickoff return and we trust George as a part of not allowing that to happen.

"Many games have been decided by a bad hold or bobbled snap. Richie has shown us he's capable of performing that job effectively."

Helow, a 5-8, 185-pounder from Jacksonville, FL, has earned two letters for his special teams play. In 2008, he saw action in all 13 games and totaled eight tackles. In 2009, he played in all 13 games and recorded five tackles in securing his second letter.

Contartesi, a 5-8, 163-pounder from Lake Worth, FL, transferred from the University of Jacksonville after his freshman year and earned his first letter in 2009 while seeing action in four games when regular holder Justin Sparks injured his knee and Richie had to take over those duties for the month of October.

"Those two deserve scholarships and we were excited about being in a position to give them one," closed Nutt.

Sticking with something does pay off. Just ask George Helow and Richie Contartesi.

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