One year ago, the Hannibal football team was the toast of the North Central Missouri Conference. The Pirates ran through the conference with very little struggle on their way to the NCMC football crown.
It wasn't all a cake walk though, as Hannibal did have a tough game against Moberly. In fact, in the Pirates win over the Spartans, Hannibal allowed Moberly to score almost as many points (22) in one game as the Pirates had allowed in the previous four NCMC games combined (26).
When conference play concluded, the Pirates had scored an average of 39 points a game (234 total points) against the rest of the NCMC opponents while giving up an average of 9.3 points a game (56 total points allowed).
The NCMC didn't belong to Hannibal solely though.
A week seven match up between Moberly and Hannibal pitted a pair of undefeated teams in conference play against each other. While Hannibal came out on top 34-22, the Pirates had to play catch-up as the Spartans led 9-0 at halftime.
Moberly ended the season with a 6-2 record and runner up to Hannibal.
Boonville was the only other team to finish with a winning record in conference play as the Boonville Pirates went 4-2 to take third in the NCMC. However, Boonville got that third place finish when it beat Marshall in the final week of the season. The loss to Boonville gave the Owls a 3-3 record in the NCMC and a 5-4 record overall.
As for the rest of the conference, the results were not pretty.
Fulton finished the season with a two-game winning streak after opening the season with seven straight losses. The Hornets strong finish was good enough to vault Fulton over Kirksville for fifth place.
Kirksville meanwhile was victorious in one-third of its games, however, only one of the Tigers three wins came against conference opponents. Kirksville's lone NCMC win was against Mexico.
Speaking of Mexico, the Bulldogs have nowhere to go but up in the 2013 season. Mexico lost every NCMC game it played on its way to an 0-6 finish in conference. The Bulldogs did manage to win one game during non-conference play. The Bulldogs beat a winless Warrenton 49-29 back in week six.
But Friday, all of that is out the window as every team starts with a clean slate.
Kirksville and Mexico will open its seasons on the road. The Tigers will travel to Southern Boone while the Bulldogs head to Lafayette while the rest of the conference opens its seasons at home.
Blair Oaks travels to Moberly and Chillicothe makes the trip to Marshall. Fulton will host School of Osage as California heads to Boonville. And the reining conference champion, Hannibal opens at home against Illinois' Quincy Notre Dame.