Helias rolls past Marshall in playoff opener

Helias defenders (from left) J.C. Szumigala, Josh Woodruff, Jordan Kemple and Weston Porter take down Marshall running back Devin Cott during the second half Thursday night at Adkins Stadium.

Helias defenders (from left) J.C. Szumigala, Josh Woodruff, Jordan Kemple and Weston Porter take down Marshall running back Devin Cott during the second half Thursday night at Adkins Stadium. Photo by News Tribune.

The Helias Crusaders had three goals Thursday night.

One, win. Two, reach some individual and team single-season records. Three, get nobody hurt.

The first was virtually assured after the first minute. It took nearly two full quarters to reach the second. And the third was achieved at the final whistle as the Crusaders dominated their Class 4 District 6 opener from the start and rolled to a 69-14 victory against the Marshall Owls at Adkins Stadium.

“It feels good to go out there, take care of business, do what you’re supposed to do,” Helias coach Phil Pitts said. “In the playoffs, you want your kids to be playing well and even in a win, you don’t want it to be a sloppy win.”

With the win, Helias (8-2, ranked No. 3) advances to face KIrksville (6-4) in the district semifinals at 7 p.m. Wednesday. KIrksville edged Mexico 12-6 at home Thursday,

“It’s one step up the ladder and the next one is Wednesday,” Pitts said.

The Crusaders set the tone on the first play from scrimmage Thursday, compliments of senior co-captain Brock Gerstner, out for the year after breaking his leg prior to the third game of the year.

“Brock wants to help this team any way he can, so I told him to watch film like a football coach and call our first play,” Pitts said.

From their own 20, Crusader quarterback Wyatt Porter hit a wide-open Trent Dudenhoeffer sprinting down the hashmarks. Dudenhoeffer was finally dragged down at the Marshall 7 after a 73-yard gain.

“It was great to see that play be so successful,” Pitts said.

Two plays and one penalty on Helias later, Garrett Buschjost scored from 11 yards out and J.C. Szumigala’s PAT made it 7-0.

It was the first of three first-quarter touchdown runs for Buschjost, the others coming from 74 and 1 yard.

With the 18 points, the senior has 138 points this season to best the previous mark of 132 set by Craig Lammers in the state championship season of 1984.

“Craig was a great football player who played on some great teams,” Pitts said. “For Garrett to break that shows the type of football player he is.”

Buschjost finished the game with 10 carries for 165 yards and has 1,086 yards on the ground this season.

The Crusaders went to work in the air in the second quarter. Porter threw touchdown passes of 39 yards to Josh Woodruff, 19 yards to Ryan Tannehill and 12 yards to Hale Hentges to push his total to 23 on the season. That’s one more than he had in a school-record season last year.

“When a player has a chance to set a record, we try to make that happen because that’s a big deal,” Pitts said.

Prior to the game, Porter was recognized for already setting Helias career marks for total completions, touchdown passes and passing yards.

Porter had a 30-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter to make it 48-0. Szumigala came on and booted the PAT, his seventh of the game and 49th of the season to break the mark of 48 set by Taylor Heislen in 2008.

Jon Wildhaber is Helias’ deep snapper on extra points, while Buschjost is the holder.

“That record speaks a lot about our offense and how consistent J.C. and that group is,” Pitts said.

A 1-yard plunge by backup quarterback Alex Faddoul in the final minute of the half established another mark. It pushed Helias’ point total to 55 and 436 for the season to break the mark of 431 set in 1997.

Helias also set a season-season record for total yards. The Crusaders finished with 556 in the game and now have 4,147 on the season. That eclipses the record of 3,927 set by the 2009 team.

Pitts said that record starts up front with the offensive line, coached by Mike Cook, Jason Becker and Adam McMorris.

“Those guys have played great all year long and the three coaches have done great work with them,” he said.

Starters up front for Helias are Tryston Bax, Will Fife, Blake Wilbers, Brody Buschjost and Merlin Phelps. Seeing a lot of time in reserve are Adam Rustemeyer, Colton Ferguson and Dane Clutter.

“All eight of them do a great job for us,” Pitts said.

Helias finished the first half with 421 total yards, while holding Marshall to a minus-1 total.

Helias’ second-half touchdowns came on a 54-yard pass from Faddoul to Woodruff and on an 18-yard run by Faddoul.

Marshall scored on a 7-yard run by Devin Cott and on a 70-yard pass from Canaan Heinzler to Logan Harris. It was just the second touchdown pass of the season for the Owls, who end at 2-8.

Cott picked up a hard-earned 87 yards on 22 carries in the game.

Helias and KIrksville met in the first round of districts last year, with the Crusaders posting a 54-7 victory at Adkins Stadium.

“I’m sure they’re going to want to show us they’ve made some progress,” Pitts said

In the other district game Thursday, third-seeded Hannibal defeated sixth-seeded Warrenton 42-6. Moberly, the No. 2 seed, will host seventh-seeded St. Dominic tonight.


Missouri high school football scores for Oct. 31, 2013


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