74 / 46
      79 / 43
      63 / 37

      'We believe'

      This thing changed directions faster than a bug hitting your windshield.

      Helias led Hickman 17-0 midway through the third quarter Friday night, before Sam Smith made a 26-yard field goal for the Kewpies.


      But wait ... a procedure penalty took the points off the board. It also took the kicking team off the field.

      On the next play --- on 4th-and-11 --- Mason Murray hooked up with Grant Jones on a 15-yard touchdown pass.


      That kick-started an improbable 27-0 surge in the game's final 18 1/2 minutes, as the Kewpies stormed past the Crusaders 27-17 at Adkins Stadium.

      "That was a big play," Hickman coach Arnel Monroe said. "I told the kids when we called that play ... 'We believe.'

      "We believe in ourselves, we believe in our scheme and we believe in our team, even if some people don't."

      Believe it or not.

      Helias was in a similar position in the season opener, but blew a late two-touchdown lead in a 22-21 loss to Harrisonville.

      "All losses hurt; you're in this to win football games," Helias coach Phil Pitts said. "We were in a position to win a football game in the second half, again, and we didn't.

      "That's on me as the head football coach and our coaching staff. We've got to find a way to fix our second-half woes."

      In some ways, this game made less sense than paying $1.89 for a sandwich on the Dollar Menu. The Crusaders were dominant through 2 1/2 quarters --- and ended up losing by double-digits.

      In the first half, Helias (2-2, ranked No. 3 in Class 4) rolled up 170 total yards and 10 first downs; Hickman (2-2) had 97 yards --- 65 of those on three plays --- and just two first downs.

      The Crusaders built a 17-0 lead at the break on an 8-yard run by Wyatt Porter, a 2-yard plunge by Garrett Buschjost (who rushed for 112 yards on 27 carries) and a 28-yard field goal by J.C. Szumigala.

      "We played well in first half," Pitts said.

      But then came the second half, when the Kewpies outgained the Crusaders 281-66.

      Big adjustments? No.

      "We didn't really change anything, we just did it better, we executed better," Monroe said. "We did the things we needed to do to win the ball game.

      "We just came out, took it one play at a time and we blocked and tackle."

      They passed and caught, too. In the second half, Murry was 7-of-10 for 130 yards and three touchdowns --- all going to Jones.

      After the score in the third quarter, Murry hooked up with Jones on scores of 19 and 20 yards in the fourth, while Justin Keith --- who rushed for 111 yards --- added a 7-yard touchdown run.

      "Mason's a very talented quarterback and Grant's a very talented kid," Monroe said. "Our O-line stuck together and fought like pit bulls, and our defense continued to play well.

      "We just got after it in the second half."

      Hickman put Helias on its heels, and the Crusaders never regained their balance.

      "They got the momentum and we, as a football team, didn't handle it," Pitts said. "We've got to do a better job of seizing the momentum back.

      "We need to learn how to play four quarters; we didn't do that again tonight. We're not teaching them to finish ball games.

      "We thought we'd learned our lesson three weeks ago, but obviously, we didn't."

      While Vashon is next up for Helias on Saturday in St. Louis, Hickman braces for crosstown rival Rock Bridge on Friday.

      "It's your brother and it's in your own backyard," Monroe said. "That's all you have to say."