It was decided up front.
"They won the battle in the trenches, both offensively and defensively," Helias coach Chris Hentges said Friday night after the Crusaders dropped a 43-13 decision to the Lebanon Yellowjackets in the Class 4 District 5 semifinals at Ray Hentges Stadium. "Most people know that's where games are often won and lost is how you do up front."
Lebanon had displayed a potent rushing attack through its first 10 games and game No. 11 was no different.
Starting at their own 20 on the first drive of the game, Lebanon drove the 80 yards on 12 consecutive running plays to take the lead. Lebanon only ran two third-down plays on the drive, the second coming on a 3-yard touchdown by Quameire Wright. Drew Dustin booted the extra point and Lebanon led 7-0.
The scoring drive ate up a little more than half of the first quarter.
"That was a fear of ours, that they would just run and pick up big chunks on running plays and they were able to do that," Hentges said.
Helias turned the ball over on downs near midfield on its first possession. On second down, Lebanon wide receiver Tyler Paul threw a pass to a wide-open Drew Truelove around the Helias 20.
The Crusaders knocked the ball out of Truelove's grasp around the 10 and it rolled into the end zone, where Dylan Weaver recovered it for a touchback.
But Helias fumbled the ball back to Lebanon on the next play. Then on fourth-and-one, Wright scored on a 6-yard run and Lebanon led 14-0 with 1:29 remaining in the first quarter.
After a Helias three-and-out, Lebanon took over after a punt at its own 27. The Yellowjackets put together another 12-play scoring drive, capped by a 15-yard run by Kale Keagy and Dustin's PAT made it 21-0 with just under seven minutes remaining before halftime. Again, all 12 of the plays on the drive were runs.
The Crusaders picked up their initial first down of the game on the next drive, which ended with a fumble recovered by the Yellowjackets around midfield.
Ten running plays later, Wright ran 4 yards for his third touchdown of the half as the Yellowjackets took a 28-0 lead into intermission.
Lebanon finished the half with 222 rushing yards on 38 carries. Wright led the way with 100 yards on 19 carries.
"They leaned on us with their run game," Hentges said.
On the other side, Helias had nine carries for a minus-47 yards in the half. That included a pair of sacks and yardage lost on fumbles.
"We really had no success in the run game," Hentges said.
Helias got the ball first to start the second half and went 72 yards on 14 plays to get onto the scoreboard. The touchdown came on a 14-yard pass from Zach Wolken to Damon Johanns. The PAT kick failed and Helias trailed 28-6.
Lebanon added two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. A 5-yard run by Drew McBride, along with a 2-point conversion run, with 8:25 remaining made it 36-6. The Yellowjackets brought the running clock into play with 4:51 left after a 5-yard run by Antonio Rogers and an extra point increased Lebanon's lead to 43-6.
Helias closed its season on offense with a 10-play, 57-yard touchdown drive. Brody Mays took it over from a yard out and Vito Calvaruso booted the PAT with :16.7 remaining to make the final 43-13.
Lebanon totaled 370 yards on 60 carries Friday night. Wright led the way with 28 carries for 141 yards.
Helias, which lost starting running back Alex Clement and defensive end Caleb Justice to injuries in the game, had 119 total yards Friday night and finished with four turnovers.
"That doesn't give you the chance to be successful offensively," Hentges said.
Helias, ranked No. 7 in Class 4, ends its season at 9-2. That's a five-win improvement from the 2018 season.
Lebanon, ranked No. 6, is 9-2 heading into next Friday night's district title game at second-ranked Camdenton (11-0). The Lakers defeated Washington 56-7 in its semifinal.