Hentges breaks Helias receptions mark held by his uncle

Hannibal’s Jerry McBride hits the brakes as Helias defensive lineman Hale Hentges (83) and linebacker Jake Burnett (45) close in for the tackle during Saturday night’s game at Adkins Stadium in Jefferson City.

Hannibal’s Jerry McBride hits the brakes as Helias defensive lineman Hale Hentges (83) and linebacker Jake Burnett (45) close in for the tackle during Saturday night’s game at Adkins Stadium in Jefferson City. Photo by Kris Wilson.

It was a rather nondescript catch for three yards.

Nondescript, except for the school record thing.

Hale Hentges broke the Helias career record for receptions with a catch on the first drive of the game Saturday night as the Crusaders went on to a 52-14 victory against the Hannibal Pirates at Adkins Stadium.

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“They all count the same,” Hentges said with a laugh about his catch.

Hentges, who finished with five catches for 94 yards in the game, now has 120 receptions in his career. That eclipses the mark of 116 set by his uncle, Mike Hentges, in the early 1990s.

“This is very much a team sport, but it’s nice to see an individual get a record,” Helias coach Phil Pitts said. “I’m happy for him to get it.”

Hale Hentges is happy the record is still in the family.

“I want to thank Uncle Mike for all of his support and tips through the years,” Hentges said.

With the win, Helias is 2-0 for the first time in five years.

“When you win games, the kids are excited to come back and work to get better,” Pitts said.

The Crusaders dominated the Pirates from the start, scoring on their first six possessions.

“We know Hannibal is a very good team and we expected a battle from the very beginning,” Hentges said. “But we just got hot right at the start of the game. We got on a roll and we overwhelmed them.”

Helias went 88 yards in eight plays to start the game, with quarterback Alex Faddoul scoring on a 6-yard run. Sam Heckart booted the first of his seven extra points and it was 7-0.

The Crusaders needed eight plays to go 65 yards in their next drive with the score coming on a 2-yard run by Clayton Winter. After a Hannibal fumble recovered by Jordan Kemple, Helias made it 21-0 with 3:19 to go in the opening quarter on a 4-yard pass from Faddoul to Chase Bexten.

Helias scored three times in the second quarter on a 2-yard run by Malik Davis, a 2-yard run by Winter and a 7-yard run by Faddoul. The Crusaders finished the first half with 405 total yards.

“We really wanted a fast start and we put in a lot of work this week to get that done,” Pitts said. “We were a calmer football team this week than we were against Nixa.”

Davis, a junior, finished with 119 yards on 10 carries.

“People need to remember Malik’s only played four football games in his life,” Pitts said. “That’s why he was still in the second half, he needs to get reps. Malik had that extra kick, that extra gear and he can be an explosive back.”

Hannibal got on the board late in the third quarter on a 1-yard run by Jerry McBride, then made it 42-14 on a 4-yard run by Shamar Griffth early in the fourth quarter.

Weston Porter’s 9-yard run with 7:17 accounted for Helias’ final touchdown. Heckart, a sophomore out for football for the first time, then kicked a 30-yard field goal in the final minute.

“Sam needs kicks, he needs the experience of kicking the ball during a game,” Pitts said.

Helias’ first-team defense, which played just the first half Saturday night, has not allowed a point through two games.

“We get a lot of guys to the ball,” PItts said. “We save the big play from happening and when you can make a high-school team put together a long drive, a lot of times they won’t do it.”

Hentges was a part of that first unit as a starting defensive end.

“The defense was phenomenal again,” he said. “It was a total team effort and we got the job done.”

Helias will hit the road next Saturday, heading to Belleville, Ill., to face Bishop Althoff. The game, slated for a 7:30 p.m. start, will be played at Lindenwood Unversity-Belleville.

“It’s going to be another test to see just how good we are,” Hentges said.

Pitts is looking forward to Helias’ first road game of the season.

“We’ve got a challenge, but we’re excited to play a quality opponent on the road and see how our young team responds,” he said.

Bishop Althoff won its season opener 34-14 against Collinsville on Saturday afternoon.

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