It took a little time Friday night for the Helias Crusaders to hit their stride.
But when they did, they were gone.
Helias scored three touchdowns in a five-minue span bridging the first and second quarter to spark the Class 5 No. 10 Crusaders to a 49-0 victory against the Granite City (Ill.) Warriors at Ray Hentges Stadium.
"I was a little upset with the way we came out offensively on our first two drives," Helias coach Chris Hentges said. "Drive-killing penalties, lack of execution, poor pass protection, those things will hurt you against good football teams. We had a lot of mistakes."
While the offense sputtered for a while, the defense did its job.
"The defense played great all night," Hentges said.
The Warriors finished with 68 total yards in the game. Granite City ran the ball 40 times for 64 yards and was 3-of-12 passing for four yards.
"It was a great effort by the defense," Hentges said.
Helias got on the board on its third possession. After a short punt, Helias took over at the Granite City 42. Four plays later, Carson Brauner took it over from 3 yards out and the first of seven PATs by Vinnie Calvaruso gave the Crusaders a 7-0 lead with 3:26 left in the first quarter.
After another Granite City punt, the Crusaders took over at their own 36, Six plays later, Drew Miller hooked up with Harrison Miller for a 28-yard touchdown pass and a 14-0 Helias lead just :14 into the second quarter.
Calvaruso then executed an onside kick Matthew Malmstrom of the Crusaders recovered near midfield.
Helias needed five plays to navigate the 51 yards to the end zone, with the score coming on a 9-yard run by Korbin Fisher to make it 21-0.
Late in the half, a fourth-down sack by Beau Bondurant of Helias gave the Crusaders the football back at its 47. On the first play, Drew Miller tossed a screen to Ryan Klahr, who weaved his way through multiple Warrior defenders 53 yards for a touchdown and a 28-0 halftime lead.
"That was special, wow," Hentges said.
Granite City got the ball to start the third quarter and on the second play, Nicholas Heislen of Helias recovered a fumble to give the Crusaders the ball at the Warrior 22.
Three plays later, Klahr scored on a 4-yard run and it was 35-0 to bring the running clock into play less than a minute into the second half.
Tyler Sandbothe got some snaps at quarterback with the first-team Helias offense in the third quarter, leading the Crusaders to a touchdown. The senior threw a 7-yard scoring pass to Cole Stumpe to make it 42-0 with 4:58 left in the quarter.
Helias' final touchdown came with 2:11 remaining on a 3-yard run by third-string quarterback Sam Wyrick.
The Crusaders finished with 380 total yards — 166 rushing and 214 passing. Klahr led Helias with 67 yards on six carries. Drew Miller was 8-of-17 passing for 190 yards.
"Drew had some good throws tonight," Hentges said.
Granite City is now 0-4.
Helias (3-1, 2-0) resumes Central Missouri Activities Conference play next Friday night in Columbia against the Rock Bridge Bruins. Rock Bridge (3-1, 3-0) defeated Capital City 43-13 on Friday night at Adkins Stadium.