This was a step in the right direction.
Coming off a disappointing opening loss to Hannibal, the Helias Crusaders cruised to a 41-6 victory Friday night against the Hickman Kewpies to open the Central Missouri Activities Conference season at Ray Hentges Stadium.
"It was a big bounce-back game for us," Helias coach Chris Hentges said. "We needed that."
The Crusader offense got on the board on the first series of the game. Helias needed just five plays to go 75 yards for the score.
Ryan Klahr carried the ball on the first four plays, totaling 58 yards before Will Herrbold scored from 17 yards. Vinnie Calvaruso kicked the PAT and the Crusaders led 7-0.
The score came a little more than a minute into the contest as the Crusaders went up-tempo.
"We were go, go, go," Hentges said. "We ran some plays we can get into in a hurry, we practice those every week."
After an exchange of punts, the Kewpies took over at its own 20. On first down, Tyler Sandbothe of Helias intercepted a pass from Hickman quarterback Colbin Clark and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown. The PAT made it 14-0 with 8:22 left in the quarter.
It was the first of four interceptions Friday night for the Crusaders. That's two short of Helias' single-game record of six, set in a 2017 game against Hickman.
Carson Brauner intercepted two passes for the Crusaders, while Cole Stumpe had the other one.
Brauner returned his first interception 41 yards to set up a Helias touchdown late in the first quarter. Drew Miller snuck it over from a yard out on fourth-and-goal and Calvaruso's PAT increased Helias' lead to 21-0 with 2:10 remaining in the first quarter.
The Crusaders put together a 10-play, 58-yard scoring drive in the third quarter. Brauner scored from 3 yards out and the PAT made it 28-0.
The Kewpies scored their lone touchdown on the ensuing drive. Deon Weston took it over on a 34-yard run Hickman. The 2-point run attempt failed and Helias took a 28-6 advantage into halftime.
A 2-yard run by Korbin Fisher for a touchdown with 7:41 left in the third quarter made it 34-6.
Helias brought the running clock into play with 7:03 remaining in the game when Brady Rush scored on a 30-yard run. Calvaruso's PAT made the score 41-7.
Helias (1-1 overall, 1-0 conference) hits the road for the first time this season next Friday night when it travels to Columbia to take on Battle in a CMAC contest. Game time is 7 p.m.