Helias Football Prepares for State Championship Game

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COLUMBIA -- The Helias football team is trying to win its first State Championship since 1998 when it plays Webb City on Saturday. Helias practiced inside Mizzou's Devin Pavilion on Wednesday. It provided a chance for head coach Phil Pitts to return to the spot he played college football and for his team to enjoy the spoils of making a state championship game.

Senior linebacker Justus Schulte said,"Coach Pitts is always a firey guy, but when you look into his eyes and see that he really cares about how well he wants us to play it makes you feel like you want to do it just for him."

"He kinda gets us motivated with all of his speeches. This week he said on the internet we were the underdogs," said senior wide receiver Anthony Woodruff. "So, we gotta show him underdogs can win games. That's what we're going to do."

Winning state means knocking off their nemesis. Webb City has ended the Crusaders season three of the last four years, including the 2008 State Championship game.

Senior wide receiver Cole Distler said, "We're looking to get them back for all the people before us that ended our season."

"It's one game. That's all we really can say. We don't worry about the past. It's the present. We're going to take care of business," Woodruff said.

Schulte said, "Everybody has really been buying into the word banner. We've been saying it since January. Now that we're this close I think everybody believes."

As if beating a team with a 44 game winning streak isn't tough enough, Helias will play without two injured linemen. Will Fife and Merlin Phelps both injured knees in the State Semifinals.

Helias will play at 11 a.m. on Saturday in the Class 4 State Championship game.