COLUMBIA — The Helias Crusaders took a big step forward.
Will Herrbold ran for a pair of touchdowns and the Crusader defense made several big plays Friday night as Helias defeated the Battle Spartans 35-22 in Central Missouri Activities Conference action.
"You saw maturity and growth in this football team tonight," Helias coach Chris Hentges said. "We overcame a lot to get a very big victory. We kept fighting."
Battle got the ball first and drove 80 yards in 12 plays to get on the scoreboard. Rickie Dunn got the touchdown on a 34-yard run and after the 2-point pass attempt failed, the Spartans led 6-0 with 7:29 left in the first quarter.
Dunn, who ran for more than 100 yards for the Spartans in their season-opening victory, had just 33 yards on his other 11 carries in the game.
The Crusaders took the lead for good on the second play of the second quarter when Herrbold broke free for a 19-yard touchdown. Vinnie Calvaruso booted the first of his five PATs and Helias led 7-6.
After a Battle punt, the Crusaders took over at their own 25. A 37-yard run by Ryan Klahr got Helias into Battle territory. On the next play, Klahr scored from 26 yards out and it was 14-6.
Battle fumbled the ball back to Helias to end its next drive to give the Crusaders the ball at their own 35. On first down, quarterback Drew Miller connected with a wide-open Cole Stumpe down the left sideline for a 65-yard touchdown and a 21-6 Helias advantage.
"We had a good first half of football," Hentges said.
Battle scored on its first possession of the third quarter. An interception gave the Spartans the ball at the Crusader 23. Five plays later, Battle quarterback Justin Goolsby hooked up with TJ Turner for an 11-yard touchdown pass. The Spartans converted the 2-point conversion to cut the Crusader lead to 21-14.
The Helias offense scored two touchdowns in less than a minute later in the quarter.
The first came on a 15-yard run by Herrbold. Klahr then intercepted a pass on Battle's next play from scrimmage. Two personal foul calls on the Spartans after the play gave the Crusaders the ball at the Spartan 18. Two plays later, Miller connected with Harrison Miller for a 16-yard score and a 35-14 Helias lead.
"I thought we needed to score 35 points to win it and we did that," Hentges said.
Battle's final touchdown came with less than two minutes left when Goolsby hit Tre Richardson for a 25-yard score against the Helias second-team defense.
Battle (1-1, 0-1 CMAC), ranked No. 5 in Class 5, finished with 380 total yards. Goolsby was 20-of-32 passing for 276 yards. The Spartans will host Hickman in a conference contest next Friday.
Helias had 435 total yards, including 281 on the ground.
"We knew it would be physical, but I liked the way we didn't back down," Hentges said. "I like the way we bowed our necks and stayed right with them."
Klahr had 116 yards on nine carries for the Crusaders, while Herrbold finished with 101 on eight carries.
Helias (2-1, 2-0) will host Granite City, Ill., at 7 p.m. next Friday.