Helias defense set to face another scrambling QB (with PODCAST)

A scrambling quarterback gave the Helias Crusaders fits last Friday night.

They’re going to get another opportunity to face one Saturday afternoon when the Crusaders (2-2, ranked No. 5 in Class 4) travel to St. Louis to take on the Vashon Wolverines (3-1) at Gateway Tech High School.

“It’s nice that we’re going to get to work on it right away,” Helias coach Phil Pitts said. “We’ve spent a lot of time in practice this week working against a scrambling quarterback and I know we’re going to do a better job against it Saturday.”

Last Friday, Hickman quarterback Mason Murray kept a slew of plays alive with his legs before finding a receiver in the second half of the Kewpies’ 27-17 victory against the Crusaders.

“(Murray) willed them to victory,” Pitts said. “He put them on his shoulders. We were in position to make plays against him, but he was the one who kept making the plays.”

Murray threw for three touchdowns in the second half as Hickman rallied from a 17-0 halftime deficit. And while Pitts credited Murray and the Kewpies, he believes Helias didn’t play up to its capabilities in the final two quarters.

“We didn’t get the job done, from top to bottom we didn’t attack,” he said. “We were playing to run out the clock to get the win, not being aggressive.”

The Crusaders will need to be aggressive Saturday against the Wolverines. Sophomore quarterback Clifton Dickens (6-0, 160) is completing nearly 50 percent of his passes for six touchdowns and three interceptions while also leading Vashon in rushing.

“He’s very athletic and a a guy that keeps plays alive when he moves with the football,” Pitts said.

Dickens’ top game this season came in a 36-12 victory against Roosevelt. Dickens was 13-of-16 through the air for 230 yards and four touchdowns. Junior receiver John Mitchell (6-1, 175) caught three of the scores.

With the strong pass game, the Wolverines will employ a four-receiver set.

“They do a lot of good things in space and try to get their best athletes the football,” Pitts said. “We have to make sure we’re in the right positions against them on the defensive side.”

Vashon brings a big-play mentality to the defensive side. Whether they’re in a 4-3 or 3-4 front, Pitts said the Wolverines like to force the issue.

“They’re very aggressive and try to bring the pressure to you,” he said. “They like to make big plays.”

Pitts said there were positives to be taken from the Hickman game.

“The kids didn’t quit on the game, they kept playing hard,” he said. “It wasn’t an entire game of negatives. It may feel like that right after the game, but looking back, you can find a lot of good things.”

One of the positives was the play of running back Garrett Buschjost. The senior ran for 106 yards, his third straight game over the century-mark on the ground.

“Garrett’s not the type of back who is going to break off a lot of 50- or 60-yard runs,” Pitts said. “He’s going to churn and churn and churn and do a good job of moving the chains.”

Notes: Game time is 1:30 p.m. ... In last year’s meeting at Adkins Stadium, Helias led 56-6 at halftime in a 56-24 victory. ... Helias has played several times at Gateway Tech in recent seasons, but this will be the first time the Crusaders will play on the field’s new artificial surface. ... Will Fife will only play on the offensive line the remainder of the season for Helias due to a shoulder injury. ... It will be the first of four straight Saturday games for the Crusaders. “We’re used to it,” Pitts said. “One good thing is it will be the same routine over the next few weeks.” ... Helias will host C.B.C., ranked No. 5 in Class 6 this week, on Saturday, Oct. 5.

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