WARSDVILLE — Some years, a Jamboree provides an experienced football team a chance to knock off some of the rust to prepare for the season.
Friday night's Jamboree at Blair Oaks was a little more important than that for the Helias Crusaders.
"This was important for all of our kids," Helias coach Chris Hentges said after the Crusaders took on Blair Oaks and Southern Boone at the Falcon Athletic Complex. "We've got a lot of inexperienced players, I don't want to call them young because we have a lot of juniors and seniors, but they don't have a lot of game experience.
"Tonight was really important to get that Friday night lights, game experience."
The Crusaders return three starters on each side of the football from a team that finished 14-0 and won the Class 4 state championship.
"Those eight guys that didn't play a lot last year really benefited from tonight," Hentges said.
Helias opened with Blair Oaks, the defending Class 3 state champions. It's safe to say neither team dug very deep into its bag of tricks offensively as each team scored once in its series of 18 plays.
Helias finished with four first downs and 72 total yards against Blair Oaks, with the touchdown coming on a 1-yard plunge by junior Korbin Fisher to cap a nine-play, 70-yard drive.
The big play on the drive was a 36-yard pass from Drew Miller to Sam Schell.
Defensively, the Crusaders had three turnovers in the series with the Falcons. Gage Wilde recovered a fumble, while Kaden Hampson and Maddox Alfultis had interceptions.
Helias then took on Southern Boone.
The Crusaders kept the Eagles out of the end zone on their 18 offensive plays.
"Our starters did a really good job on defense," Hentges said. "I don't think we missed a lot of tackles, we were pretty solid when it came to wrapping people up.
"That's what you want to see, good fundamental football."
Helias then took its turn on offense and looked a lot more comfortable in its second series.
Miller finished 4-of-4 passing for 31 yards for the Crusaders against the Eagles as Helias racked up 110 total yards.
"Drew really settled in during that second scrimmage and threw some nice balls," Hentges said. "As he gets more experience, gets more comfortable and acclimated to the varsity game, he is really going to improve."
Helias scored three times against Southern Boone — an 8-yard pass from Miller to Schell, a 6-yard run by Fisher and a 2-yard run by Brady Rush.
The Crusaders were not flagged for a penalty in the Jamboree, which did not allow for quarterbacks to be hit and did not involve special teams.
"Overall it was pretty clean," Hentges said.
Perhaps most importantly Friday night, the Crusaders came out of it without an injury.
"We want to be as healthy as we can for Week 1," Hentges said.
Helias will open the season next Friday at home against Hannibal.
The game will begin at 7 p.m.