The Helias Crusaders took the ball and ran with it.
Helias racked up a season-high 325 yards on the ground Friday night as the Crusaders defeated the Battle Spartans 41-19 in Central Missouri Activities Conference action at Ray Hentges Stadium.
"It was a total team effort again, I'm super proud of everybody for getting it done," Helias coach Chris Hentges said. "This was a big win for us tonight."
The Spartans jumped out to an early lead, needing just five plays after the opening kickoff to find the end zone.
The score came on a scramble by quarterback Khaleel Dampier, who faked to the left before sprinting down the right side 27 yards for the score. The extra point kick failed and Battle led 6-0 less than two minutes into the game.
"He's very elusive," Hentges said as Dampier finished the night with 80 yards on 10 carries.
Helias then drove to the Battle 5 on the ensuing series before a field-goal attempt was blocked to keep the score 6-0.
The Spartans then fumbled the ball back to the Crusaders two plays later. Two plays after that, Alex Clement scored from 6 yards out and Isaac Lopez's PAT gave Helias a 7-6 lead.
The Crusaders forced a punt after a three-and-out and took over at their own 48. It took six plays — all runs — for Helias to find the end zone.
The score came on a 10-yard run by Ryan Klahr and Helias led 13-6.
Jacob Watson of Helias recovered a Battle fumble at the Crusader 40 to bring a sudden halt to the Spartans' next series. But Helias fumbled it right back after a 39-yard completion, then Battle threw an interception to Clement on its next play as the Crusaders ended the three turnovers in three plays exchange at the Spartan 36.
After Jake Weaver ran for six yards on first down, the senior quarterback found Cole Stumpe for a 30-yard touchdown pass. Lopez's boot gave Helias a 20-6 lead with 10:22 to go before halftime.
Helias had run 20 offensive plays before the touchdown pass, 17 of them rushes.
"We were prepared for what looks they were going to potentially throw at us and we called the right plays at the right times," Hentges said.
The Crusaders forced another Spartan punt on the next series, but a running into the kicker penalty gave Battle a first down at its own 45.
On the next play, Gerry Marteen Jr. broke through the Helias defense for a 55-yard touchdown run and it was 20-12 after the 2-point try failed.
"Their athletes were going make big plays and they did," Hentges said.
Helias needed just three plays to get back to the end zone, with the score coming on a 26-yard pass from Weaver to Drew Higgins. The PAT made it 27-12.
Battle answered quickly, scoring the third touchdown in just a minute of game time as Dampier scampered for a 22-yard score. The PAT was good to cut Helias' lead to 27-19 with 7:35 left in the second quarter.
But Helias scored twice in a span of :25 to take back control. Weaver capped a six-play drive by scampering 48 yards for a touchdown. Aleck Barchenski of the Crusaders then pulled down an interception near midfield. On the next play, Weaver connected with a wide-open Damon Johanns for a 45-yard touchdown and a 41-19 Helias lead at the half.
"We did what we needed to do offensively in the first half, we answered their scores with a score of our own," Hentges said.
Helias finished the half with 30 carries for 239 yards, while totaling another 110 yards through the air, Battle had 129 yards rushing to go along with 83 passing through the first two quarters.
Neither team got on the scoreboard in the second half as the Crusaders were content to run time off the clock on offense while their defense continued to slow the potent attack of the Spartans, who had totaled 112 points in their first two games.
Weaver led Helias with 126 yards on 15 carries, while Clement totaled 116 yards on 20 attempts. Klahr had 80 yards on 10 carries.
"That's good balance," Hentges said.
Battle, who came into the game averaging 340 yards rushing, finished Friday with 178 on 38 attempts. Marteen led the Spartans with 84 yards on 14 carries. Battle was 5-of-12 passing for 87 yards.
Battle (2-1 overall, 1-1 CMAC) will play next Friday at Hickman.
Helias (3-0, 2-0) will step out of conference play to host Borgia (2-1) at 7 p.m. next Friday. Borgia lost 25-20 on Friday night at Fox.