The Jefferson City Jays were going to try to run the football Friday night.
The Helias Crusaders were prepared for it.
"We wanted to play our game, we knew they were going to try to run the ball against us," Helias senior linebacker Isaac Lopez said. "It was going to be our strength against their strength."
This night, the Helias strength proved to be too much, as the Crusaders claimed city bragging rights with a 28-0 victory against the Jays at Adkins Stadium.
"When your offense relies on your run game setting up everything else and you have trouble running the ball, it can make for a long day," Jays coach Scott Bailey said. "Especially a long day for your defense that's out there for three quarters-plus."
Jefferson City picked up just 110 yards on the ground on 35 carries in the game.
"We were on what they wanted to do," Helias coach Chris Hentges said. "Our defensive coaches did a great job of getting the players prepared and the players went out and executed."
On the other side, the Crusaders had a good night with their ground game. Helias ran the ball 39 times for 263 yards.
Senior running back Alex Clement led the way with 154 yards on 18 carries, including a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown runs that iced the victory.
"We have a great offensive line, it starts there all the time," Clement said. "We thought we could have success running it and we did."
Helias won the toss and took the ball to start the game. The Crusaders drove into Jays territory before Darrell Jones of Jefferson City picked off a pass. But it was three-and-out for Jefferson City's offense and a personal foul call on a fair catch on a punt gave Helias the ball at its own 29.
Helias needed just four plays, and two Jefferson City offside calls, to find the end zone. The score came on a 37-yard strike from Jake Weaver to Cole Stumpe. Vinnie Calvaruso booted the first of four extra points and Helias led 7-0 midway through the first quarter.
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The Crusaders had thrown just two interceptions through their first six games, but matched that total on their next drive as Isaac Jones picked off Weaver at the Jays 21.
After another Jefferson City punt, Helias drove to the Jay 30 before the Jays recovered a Crusader fumble.
Lopez got the Crusaders their first turnover of the night with an interception on the ensuing drive as Helias took over at the Jefferson City 33. Four plays later, Weaver scored from 3 yards out and it was 14-0 midway through the second quarter.
The turnover bug bit Helias a fourth time in the first half when the Crusaders lost the ball inside the Jay 10 with less than two minutes to go before intermission.
"Credit their defense for taking it away from us," Hentges said.
Helias finished the first half with 245 yards of offense and 14 first downs. Jefferson City had 53 total yards and two first downs, both in the second quarter.
"We were moving it, but turnovers just killed us," Hentges said. "When that's happening, the defense has to keep us in the game and it did."
Jefferson City put together its best drive of the night to start the third quarter. The Jays went 67 yards on 10 plays to get to the Crusader 12. But a 29-yard field-goal attempt was wide and the score remained 14-0.
Helias lost its third fumble of the game on its first possession of the second half. Frank Gillmore recovered the ball as the Jays took over at their own 34.
But three plays, and another offside call, pushed the Jays back to the 43 and Jefferson City was forced to punt.
"That Helias defensive line gave us a lot of fits today," Bailey said. "We couldn't get outside of it, couldn't get a push off the ball inside of it, couldn't counter them. We just couldn't find a consistent run play. It makes it difficult to call plays when you're playing a good defense."
The Crusaders then went on a 13-play, 83-yard drive to go up three scores. Clement got the touchdown on a 9-yard run and Helias led 21-0 with 9:22 remaining in the game.
Later in the fourth quarter, a 6-yard punt gave the Crusaders the ball at their own 26. Clement found the end zone on the ensuing play and it was 28-0 with 4:34 left.
The only question left was would Helias be able to finish off the shutout. Jefferson City was able to move into Helias territory before time ran out.
"We challenged our No. 2s, we wanted that shutout," Hentges said.
Helias finished with 372 yards on offense and 22 first downs. Jefferson City totaled 156 yards and nine first downs.
Jefferson City (3-4 overall, 3-2 Central Missouri Activities Conference) will host Battle next Friday night.
Helias (7-0, 5-0), No. 1 in the Class 4 Missouri Media Rankings, will host Sedalia Smith-Cotton next Friday.