The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

November 7, 2011

Webb City prepares for Helias

Jefferson City Helias Catholic should arrive in Webb City brimming with confidence, Cardinal coach John Roderique suggested on Sunday.

“I’d say they will come in mentally ready,” Roderique said of today’s 7 p.m. game at Cardinal Stadium. “They (the Crusaders) have been very resilient in coming from behind the last two games.”

Helias (7-4) and top-ranked, defending champion Webb City (11-0) are meeting in the sectional round of the MSHSAA Class 4 football playoffs.

Helias, a perennial force, rallied to win 29-19 at Bolivar to secure a first place in district play. The Crusaders then rallied to beat visiting Carthage 20-17 last Wednesday night in a regional.

Webb City defeated Helias 35-21 in Jefferson City at this juncture of the 2010 playoffs.

Helias, in its first season under former assistant Phil Pitts, also will bring a hot quarterback — 6-foot-1, 167-pound senior Aaron Vossen — to Webb City, Roderique said. Vossen has thrown for some 600 yards and six touchdowns on 46 of 67 the last two games.

“Vossen is a two-way threat,” Roderique said after Sunday’s practice. “He’s solid with a good arm and also runs well. They love to run the ball and Vossen makes good decisions.

“They have quality receivers and they spread the ball around,” Roderique said. “Anthony Woodruff (6-1, 172 junior) and Andrew Stiles (5-10, 158 senior) are outstanding receivers.

“Woodruff (perhaps joining Vossen as the leading Helias heroes at Bolivar) is very good,” Roderique said. “He has great speed and great hands. Stiles has good hands and blocks well.

“They have a good running back in No. 30 (5-10, 165 senior Brendan Roberts),” Roderique said. “He runs very hard and has good speed.

“Helias probably will line up in a 4-3 as its base defense,” Roderique said. “Their down linemen are strong, physical and aggressive.

“It’s supposed to rain (on Monday) and obviously we could get it during the game,” Roderique said. “We had that experience (gusting winds and heavy rain) against Bolivar on Wednesday night. It didn’t rain during the game at Jefferson City.”

The Webb City-Helias survivor — the Cardinals travel if they win — faces Springfield Hillcrest or Union in the quarterfinals at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Cardinal leaders: Junior Phoenix Johnson, who has 162 points, has rushed 126 times for 1,239 yards and 25 touchdowns. Jamison Cady, a senior, has carried the ball 120 times for 731 yards and eight TDs. Senior quarterback Breckin Williams has completed 66 of 121 passes for 1,213 yards and 13 TDs. Leading receivers include senior Jarvis Jones (29 receptions, 657 yards, seven touchdowns) and junior tight end Kohl Slaughter (20-280-4). Junior Alex Easley has kicked four field goals and 58 extra points. ... Leaders in defensive tackles are junior outside linebacker Nate Brown (67 total), junior inside linebacker Dalton Humphrey (63), junior free safety Logan Williams (48) and senior inside linebacker Wyatt Johnson (45).

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