It was a battle until the end as the Camdenton Lakers fought their way through the heavy fog to defeat the Helias Crusaders 57-35 at home. Though the score may suggest otherwise, both teams looked evenly matched throughout. The deciding difference was in the hands of a few key plays that set the teams apart for good.

It was a battle until the end as the Camdenton Lakers fought their way through the heavy fog to defeat the Helias Crusaders 57-35 at home. Though the score may suggest otherwise, both teams looked evenly matched throughout. The deciding difference was in the hands of a few key plays that set the teams apart for good.

Things didn't start well for the Lakers. On their opening drive, Quarterback Junior Paxton Delaurent through for an interception on his first throw. This would give the Crusaders great field position and would allow them to get the game’s opening score. Down 7-0, the Lakers would compose themselves and strike back quickly after a 2-yard rush by Sophomore running back Eli Griffin. Camdenton would miss their first of many missed extra point tries, making the score 7-6.

Before the first quarter would expire, Helias would find the end zone one more time on the heels of their quarterback, pushing the lead to 14-6.

The Lakers would take little time to respond, find the end zone only minutes into the second quarter and successfully converting the two-point conversion to tie the game up 14-14. The defense wasted no time in the following drive, as Senior safety Jaben Shockley would intercept the Crusaders, giving the Lakers excellent field position. Griffin would find the end zone after a rush and give the Lakers their first lead of the night, 21-14.

The next drive by the Crusaders would end in the same conclusion, as this time Senior Gabe Kurtz would come up big with the interception. Griffin would again get the ball on offense and take it 45-yards to pay dirt and give Camdenton a big lead of 28-14.

With only two minutes on the clock, the Crusaders finally found a way to strike back with a touchdown, making it a one score game yet again. In a last ditch effort by Camdenton before halftime, they set up a passing attack for one final try for big yardage. Somehow, Delaurent would find Senior Lathan Wise in the open field, who would sprint to the end zone as time expired in the half to put Camdenton on top 35-21 and with the momentum on their side.

Out the gates of the second half, the Crusaders made a statement with a two-minute drive that would end with a touchdown and cut the Laker lead to just seven. The quarter continued with back and forth efforts by each team, but Camdenton would find the end zone again with four minutes left in the third quarter, missing the extra point and making it 41-28. On the following drive, Helias would fail to snap the ball cleanly and sent it out of the back of the end zone, resulting in a safety and two more points for the Lakers. Camdenton would end the third quarter with a lead of 43-28.

At this point in the game, the fog within the field started to heavily thicken and have an effect on the passing game of both teams. Much of the remainder of the game was on the ground. This was seen prominently with back to back rushing touchdowns by Senior Andrew Butts, putting the Lakers ahead for good by a score of 57-28. The Crusader were able to find the end zone one last time, but the Lakers would win the contest with a final score of 57-35.

In a turn from what has been seen by this Camdenton team throughout the year, a majority of the scoring was seen on the ground. Delaurent would end the night going 12/20 in the air for 172 yards and one touchdown on the ground and through the air. A big night was had by Griffin, who ended up with 112 rushing yards on 20 attempts and three touchdowns. Butts finished with 79 yards on 12 attempts and two touchdowns. Wise closed it would with two catches for 66 yards and the team’s only passing touchdown.

Camdenton coach Jeff Shore complimented his team on the resilience seen throughout the match. Through the cold and fog, he says they were able to fight through. By giving the Crusaders short field on their opening two drives, he says he understood why the defense looked lost at first and was happy to see a steep improvement throughout the remainder of the game.

“It’s tough to be in that position, to give the other team short field position,” Shore said.

He says that the team is set to prepare for the district championship against St. Francis Borgia. The Camdenton team, which has seen few competitive matches throughout the year, will be tested in their biggest match of the year, and coach Shore says they have to prepare mentally. He says for four weeks now, the coaching staff has put an emphasis on mental preparation for tighter outcomes. This will certainly be the case in their toughest match yet.

“That’s been the case. We’ve been reacting to the tough match ups well and so far so good,” Shore said. “At the end of the day, we are fortunate to play another home game in front of these great fans.”