Helias getting set to face versatile QND offense (with PODCAST)

Helias quarterback Wyatt Porter runs through the Sedalia Smith-Cotton Tiger defense during Saturday’s game at Adkins Stadium.

Helias quarterback Wyatt Porter runs through the Sedalia Smith-Cotton Tiger defense during Saturday’s game at Adkins Stadium. Photo by Kris Wilson.

Audio clip

Helias Week 3 Podcast

In Game 1, it was a brand of old-man football. Last week, it was kicked up into the 21st century.

The Quincy (Ill.) Notre Dame Raiders have shown both ends of the offensive spectrum early this season. And it’s up to the Helias Crusaders to prepare for both for Friday night’s game in Quincy.

“It makes it a challenge when an offense can do so many things,” Helias coach Phil Pitts said. “In one week, they ran the football and tried to control the clock. Last week, they opened up their offense.

“It’s like they’ve been two different teams.”

The Raiders (2-0) used a strong running attack in their season opener to win 17-6 at Hannibal. Last Friday, it was an air show as the Raiders threw for more than 300 yards in a 41-7 dismantling of Alton (Ill.) Marquette.

What do you prepare for if you’re the Crusaders?

“In a short week, we’ve been concentrating on our fundamentals,” Pitts said. “But it’s a good challenge for us because it prepares us for later in the postseason when you don’t have that much time to prepare.”

Pitts said the Raiders have specific players for each scheme and will freely substitute depending on the situation. The Crusaders won’t.

“We have smart kids who can do a lot of good things,” Pitts said.

Quincy Notre Dame quarterback Joe McCaughey has totaled 396 yards and six touchdowns through the air this season without throwing an interception. Barry Welber is his favorite target with nine catches for 194 yards and three scores.

It will be the best pass offense Helias has seen this season, Pitts said.

“Our secondary is going to have to be ready and our front seven is going to have to put on a good pass rush,” he said.

When the Raiders run, it’s out of the Power I formation. Daylin Anders leads the team with 108 yards (4.3 avg.).

“We expect we’re going to see them run both of their offenses,” Pitts said.

Defensively, the Raiders haven’t allowed a point in the first three quarters in either of the first two games out of their 4-4 front.

“They come off the ball and run to the ball very well,” Pitts said. “They make teams drive the football on them to beat them and that can be hard to do.”

Quincy Notre Dame has four sacks and 11 tackles for loss this season.

“They’ve made a lot of big plays with their front eight guys,” Pitts said.

The Crusaders know they’ll be in for a challenge starting from the 7 p.m. kickoff.

“It’s a football team that does everything right,” Pitts said. “They’re good on special teams, they run a sound offense and they don’t beat themselves on defense.

“When you play teams like that, it makes you work harder because you have to be better against them in all phases of the game.”

Helias (1-1) is coming off a 56-15 home victory Saturday night against Sedalia Smith-Cotton.

“While the score looked like a blowout, we saw a lot of things we need to work on,” Pitts said. “But we did do a lot of good things and we have some things to build on.”

Notes: The Crusaders enter Week 3 of the season injury-free. Senior captain Will Fife, who sat out the Smith-Cotton game with an injured shoulder, will start on both sides of the line Friday. ... This is Helias’ first road game of the season. ... Helias defeated Quincy Notre Dame 27-0 last season at Adkins Stadium. ... This likely will be the last game between the two schools due to Missouri’s decision to move the season up one week starting next year.

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