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Helias tops St. Charles West, 44-21

In Missouri Class 4 football quarterfinal

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ST. CHARLES, Mo. — It was time for smash-mouth football.

The Helias Crusaders held a 17-7 lead at the half against the St. Charles West Warriors in Saturday afternoon’s Class 4 quarterfinal at Steve Stahl Stadium. And the Crusaders had just one thought when it came to offense when they got the ball in the third quarter.

“We were going to run the football and we were going to score,” Helias head coach Phil Pitts said. “And we weren’t going to run the edges, we were going between the tackles to do it.”

And the Helias offensive line was all for it.

“We knew we had to execute, to go out there and do our jobs,” Helias senior lineman Will Fife said.

And do the job they did. The Crusaders went 90 yards in 10 plays on their second drive of the half for a score and went on to post a 44-21 victory against the Warriors.

With the win, Helias (11-2, ranked No. 3 in Class 4) advances to the semifinals against Liberty North (9- 4) on Saturday afternoon at Adkins Stadium. Liberty North advanced with a 35-0 victory against previously unbeaten Bolivar.

“The line was owning things up front,” Helias senior running back Garrett Buschjost said.

Buschjost carried the ball seven times on the drive, which was capped by a 32-yard scoring pass from Wyatt Porter to Michael Tannehill.

“That was a big drive, we let them know that we could control things up front,” said Buschjost, who finished with 187 yards and a touchdown on the ground Saturday.

Buschjost’s score came from 12 yards out on Helias’ next possession, which was set up by a blocked punt, to make it 30-7.

And when Ryan Tannehill recovered a loose ball in the end zone for a touchdown on a bad snap on a punt on the first play of the fourth quarter, the Crusaders had all but punched their ticket back to the semifinals.

“It was big to get another win, to move along in the playoffs,” Buschjost said.

And as the Helias offense got tougher, so did the defense. The Warriors, with fullback Blake Rugraff picking up good yards up the middle, had some success on the ground in the first half.

“We got off to a slow start, but we got our stuff together,” senior middle linebacker Michael Tannehill said. “We got physical at the point of attack, we had to do that because they were running it right up the gut, but we got it together.”

The Warriors had minus-4 yards in the third quarter as the Crusaders extended their lead. “We just decided it was time to stop them,” Tannehill said.

The Crusaders got on the board midway through the first quarter when Wyatt Porter tossed a pass to Hale Hentges. The junior tight end leaped high to bring it in and when two Warrior defenders collided, Hentges took it 79 yards for a touchdown.

The Warriors answered on their next possession, going 64 yards in 12 plays. The tying score came on a 1-yard plunge by Rugraff.

“Sometimes I think because we have a good football team we’re just going to roll over very opponent,” Pitts said. “But St. Charles West is a good football team, too. They came out at home and gave us a fight. It was good for us to see a game like this.”

The Crusaders scored twice in the second quarter. A 13- yard pass from Porter to Josh Woodruff made it 14-7, then J.C. Szumigala booted a 23- yard field goal in the final minute to give the Crusaders a 10- point advantage at the break.

Both teams scored twice in the fourth quarter. In addition to Ryan Tannehill’s fumble recovery, Helias scored on a 1- yard run by Porter. St. Charles West’s scores were on a 10-yard run by Drew Lauer and an 11- yard option pass from Rugraff to Ryan Finders.

Lauer, who averaged 150 yards rushing through the Warriors’ first 12 games, had just 67 on 16 carries Saturday. St. Charles West finished with 196 total yards, 146 on the ground.

“Our run defense is really good, our entire defense is good,” PItts said.

The Crusaders totaled 459 yards, 217 of them rushing.

“We’re not one-dimensional, we can win a football game in a lot of different ways,” Pitts said.

Helias is now 6-0 in road games this season.

“We’ve been good on the road, it was nice to keep that going,” Fife said.

The semifinal game is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. start.

See also:

Missouri high school football playoff scores for Nov. 16, 2013

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