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story.lead_photo.caption The Helias Crusaders run a play during Saturday morning's scrimmage at Ray Hentges Stadium. Photo by India Garrish / News Tribune.

Saturday was the first day for full pads for high school football teams around Missouri.

It was a day the Helias Crusaders had circled on the calendar.

"We did well, both sides of the ball had some success," Helias coach Chris Hentges said Saturday morning after the 2020 Class 4 state champion Crusaders held their first scrimmage of the 2021 season at Ray Hentges Stadium.

But, as to be expected, there are areas that need some work.

"There were some missed assignments with the young guys," Hentges said. "But we've thrown a lot at them in the last month, we've introduced pretty much everything in the playbook to them and you can't expect them to have it perfected.

"But we wanted to get it all introduced and when we need some particular parts of it during the season, we can work on refining it."

One question entering the preseason has been answered. Drew Miller, a junior, will be the starting quarterback with senior Tyler Sandbothe holding down the No. 2 spot.

"We evaluated everything we did during the summer, camp nights, 7-on-7, things like that and we decided to go with Drew as our starter," Hentges said.

The Crusaders are working on developing quarterback depth. Sam Wyrick is the starting JV quarterback and Sam Lopez will be the freshman quarterback. But that's the list of quarterbacks.

"Those are the four quarterbacks we have, we're trying to train some of the younger players to be quarterbacks because we don't have any backups right now," Hentges said. "We're looking to get to where if we have a injury or something during a JV or a freshman game that we have someone who is capable of going out and running our offense."

Ryan Klahr, Helias' leading returning rusher, ran for a pair of touchdowns in the scrimmage to lead the offense Saturday.

"He's very dynamic with the ball in his hands and we need to find ways to make sure he gets the ball in space," Hentges said.

Another strong point in the scrimmage came from Vinnie Calvaruso on the special teams. The senior converted on all of his kicks, as well as booming a pair of punts.

The Crusaders got through the scrimmage without any apparent injuries. Cole Stumpe, an all-state receiver last fall, did not participate Saturday as he recovers from an injury suffered earlier this summer. Hentges expects Stumpe's playing status for the season opener against Hannibal will be a game-week decision.

That opener is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 27, at Ray Hentges Stadium.

"We have two weeks, it's time to starting working on our game plan and what we expect to see from them in the opener," Chris Hentges said.

The Crusaders will be in a Jamboree Friday in Wardsville with Blair Oaks and Southern Boone.

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