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story.lead_photo.caption Helias quarterback Jacob Weaver throws on the run during last Friday night's game against Hannibal at Ray Hentges Stadium. Photo by Sally Ince / California Democrat.

The Helias Crusaders were impressive for much of last Friday night's opening 46-0 victory against the Hannibal Pirates.

But that was last week. And that effort doesn't mean a lot heading into tonight's game against the Hickman Kewpies at Ray Hentges Stadium.

"As coaches, we've reminded the kids of that," Helias coach Chris Hentges said as the Crusaders (1-0) and Kewpies (1-0) get set for today's 7 p.m. kickoff. "It was great to get that first win, we played well for an opener, but that game is in the past.

"We are going to have to execute at a high level again this week and if we don't do that against a talented, athletic team, we can get beat."

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With the exception of a couple of mistakes on special teams against Hannibal, it was as good an opening performance as Hentges could have hoped for.

The Crusaders racked up more than 400 yards of total offense, nearly evenly split between the run and pass games. On the defensive side, Helias forced three turnovers and posted its first ever-shutout at Hentges Stadium.

Helias can take a boost in confidence into tonight's game with Hickman.

"The kids are paying attention to the little details of what we're trying to install," Hentges said. "They saw how important the little things were to us winning last week and that has carried over."

Hickman is coming off a 14-7 victory against Pattonville in Columbia to open its season. The Kewpies scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to get the victory.

"They're a team with a lot of confidence and a lot of experience," Hentges said.

The Kewpies return 19 starters from a team that finished 2-8 last season. Helias defeated Hickman 34-14 last year in Columbia.

"That team we beat last year is basically back with a lot more experience than when we played them," Hentges said. "We know they are going to be much better than they were last year."

Jaevon Brown (6-foot, 180 pounds) is one of those returning starters. The senior quarterback ran for both of Hickman's touchdowns against Pattonville. Brown also ran for a 2-point conversion to account for all of the Kewpies' points in the game.

"He's an athlete, a playmaker," Hentges said. "He will have the undivided attention of our defense."

Brown finished with a team-high 64 yards on 15 carries last week. He was just 3-of-10 passing for 11 yards out of Hickman's spread offense.

"It's a good scheme offensively and (Brown) is a talented kid to run it," Hentges said. "I know the passing game struggled a little bit against Pattonville, but I expect him to be more efficient this week."

It didn't escape Helias' attention that the Hickman defense allowed just seven points.

They are big up front, they can push you off the line of scrimmage," Hentges said. "They are very physical, we're going to have our hands full on the line of scrimmage."

The Kewpies are strong at linebacker and the secondary as well.

"On the back side, they are so athletic," Hentges said. "It's a very good scheme and well-coached.

"We're going to have to run some good routes to get open against them."

Helias finished with 418 total yards last season against Hickman.

"We big-played them and I expect points will be a little harder to come by this year," Hentges said.


Notes: It was a big football weekend for the Hentges family outside of the win against Hannibal. Former Helias tight end Hale Hentges found out Saturday he had made the 53-man roster for the Indianapolis Colts as a undrafted free agent out of Alabama. "We're looking forward to this next chapter of his football career," Chris Hentges said. "We're hoping for a very long and successful career for him." Hale Hentges is the first Helias player on an NFL roster since Jon Staggers played for three teams teams from 1970-75. The Crusaders starters came out of the opener healthy. "We have a couple of backups with some aches and pains," Chris Hentges said. After tonight's game, Helias will have played half of its home games this season. The other two will be Saturday, Sept. 21, against Cardinal Ritter for Homecoming and Friday, Oct. 18 against Rock Bridge for Senior Night. Helias will play the first of its five road games in the regular season next Friday at Vianney in St. Louis. Hickman moved up to Class 6 in football this season. Helias will receive 20 district bonus points for playing up two classes Helias is tied for fourth in the Class 4 District 5 standings after the first week of the season. Six of the eight district teams won their season openers.

Related Media: Helias Crusaders Football Podcast [Hickman preview, Sept. 6, 2019]

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