Almost perfect evening for Helias at Jamboree

ST. CLAIR, Mo. — It was almost a perfect Jamboree for the Helias Crusaders.

The Crusaders did give up a touchdown while scoring six times against their three opponents Friday night.

And their end zone camera didn’t work. Plus the Jamboree got started 15 minutes late when one team finally arrived after first going to a different high school. In a city nearly 45 miles away.

“Almost perfect,” Helias coach Phil Pitts said.

Helias opened the Jamboree on defense against Rolla. The Bulldogs posted the lone score against the Crusaders, needing eight plays to go the 40 yards the first time they touched the ball.

“We didn’t finish a couple of tackles and that cost us,” Pitts said. “We were a little flat at the start and that’s something that’s on us as a coaching staff. But we’ll get that worked out.”

Rolla finished with four first downs and 66 yards against the Helias defense.

The Crusaders got a touchdown against the Bulldogs on the 11th play of the session, the score coming on a 1-yard run by Dustin Tomblinson.

Helias then dominated its final two opponents.

Squaring off against host St. Clair, the Crusaders needed just two plays to break onto the board when Wyatt Porter found a wide-open Hale Hentges for a 40-yard score.

On the next play, Brock Gerstner broke free for a 37-yard run. That was followed by a 3-yard scoring jaunt from Garrett Buschjost.

Nik McCurren later scored on a short run for Helias’ third score in the 12-play series, which featured 105 yards of total offense.

“We have a lot of guys who can run the football behind a lot of good guys up front,” Pitts said.

Defensively, Helias allowed positive yards to St. Clair on just four of its 12 plays. The longest of those four plays was just two yards.

Helias closed the Jamboree against Poplar Bluff.

Starting on offense, the Crusaders scored twice against the Mules. The touchdowns came on a 6-yard run by Buschjost and a 33-yard pass from backup quarterback Alex Faddoul to Jon Wildhaber.

On the defensive side, Helias limited Poplar Bluff to 17 yards and one first down in its 12 plays.

The Crusaders had two interceptions against the Mules, with Collin Lavery and Nick Haslag picking off the passes. Helias also got an interception from J.C. Szumigala against St. Clair.

“We preach about getting turnovers,” Pitts said. “You can’t win the game without having the football.”

It was a good night for the Crusaders, who didn’t suffer any injuries.

“We had some young kids who got their first exposure to varsity football and that’s important,” Pitts said. “Plus we got a dry run through travel and a dry run going through our pregame.

“We got a lot of important things accomplished.”

Helias opens the regular season Friday at home against Harrisonville in what should be a battle of Class 4 top-five teams. Game time is 7 p.m.

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