Will he or won't he?
It doesn't really matter to the Helias Crusaders.
C.B.C. quarterback Tyler Creath went down with a knee injury in the second half of the Cadets' 14-11 victory against DeSmet last week. And while published reports state the senior is not expected to play Saturday afternoon against Helias at Adkins Stadium, the Crusaders won't let it alter their preparations.
"We're preparing like he's playing," Helias coach Phil Pitts said. "I don't think it matters who is playing, he's going to be good. In high school football, a program is going to do what it does, it isn't going to change because of an injury.
"If he doesn't play, that doesn't make the game any easier."
The Cadets (6-1, ranked No. 4 in Class 6) are 17-2 with Creath as a starter the past two seasons. He threw for nearly 3,000 yards last season and had 1,328 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
Jack Evans, a junior, stepped in for Creath last week and is 5-of-9 passing for 43 yards in limited action this season.
"You know who ever is in at quarterback for C.B.C. is going to be good," Pitts said. "When somebody gets injured, it's the next man up."
The Cadets come into the 1 p.m. contest averaging 32 points per game behind a balanced offensive attack.
Koner Lamb has rushed for 693 yards (5.9 avg.), while Calen Taylor has 457 yards (5.0) on the ground. Both have eight touchdowns.
They run behind an offensive line that returned four starters.
"We have to be prepared for that challenge because it's a very good group," Pitts said.
The Cadets have five players with at least 12 receptions and they have combined for eight touchdown catches.
"They have a bunch of guys who have to be concerned with," Pitts said. "You have to realize they're going to make a play or two, but we have to be ready to move past that to the next play and stay after them.
"You stop them and stop them, but then they'll hit you with a long play. We've got to make sure we're consistent on defense."
Defensively, the Cadets are giving up a little more than 14 points per contest.
"Teams will get first down, first down, then it's third-and-20 because they've got a couple of sacks," Pitts said.
Eric Carrera tops the Cadets with 56 total tackles from the secondary. C.B.C. has done a good job of causing turnovers this season, picking off 10 passes.
"Those guys live for the big play," Pitts said. "They fly around, they jump routes, they're really aggressive."
In its five victories, Helias (5-2, ranked No. 4 in Class 4) is averaging nearly 60 points.
"In the games we win, we've put it on people," Pitts said. "Even in our two losses, we had pretty good halves, but didn't put together a complete four quarters.
"When we play four good quarters, I like our chances no matter who we play."
In last season's meeting in St. Louis, C.B.C. led just 14-7 before a late first-half touchdown propelled the Cadets to a 42-14 victory.
"This is a big game for us for our confidence," Pitts said. "We believe when we play well, we can play with anybody in the state and this is another chance for us to prove that."
Notes: Helias will be without starting safety Todd Buschjost after he suffered a bone bruise in the win at MICDS. Pitts said Buschjost could be back as soon as the regular-season finale at Hannibal. Jared Rackers and Andrew Schaumberg will both see time in Buschjost's place Saturday. ... The win against DeSmet clinched the fourth straight Metro Catholic Conference championship. That was the sixth straight win for the Cadets, who have beaten Eureka (38-7), St. Louis University High (31-6), Lindbergh (49-29), Vianney ((27-7) and Chaminade (47-19). C.B.C. fell 24-21 to Fort Zumwalt West to open the season. ... With a win Saturday, Helias would pass Moberly for the No. 1 spot in the district standings with one game remaining in the regular season. ... The Crusaders practiced under the lights Wednesday at Helias. Since the seniors had a retreat that kept them away from practice until 5 p.m., portable lights were brought in so the team could get in its work. ... Helias has punted just 10 times in seven games.