One week ago the Hannibal football team was a top-10 team in the Missouri Class 4 state rankings. Then the Pirates lost their season opener to Quincy Notre Dame at home. Following the loss, the Pirates slipped out of the top-10. Hannibal coach Mark St Clair believes there are lessons that can be learned from everything, including a loss. Now the question is, what did the Pirates learn from their loss to the Raiders?
“What we have picked up from last week is that we have to play with a little more intensity,” St Clair said. “We have got to play with a little fire about us. It’s not that we weren’t good at times, we were, but our consistency wasn’t there.”
As for the rest of the game, it is in the past.
“That is game one,” St Clair said. “That is over and we can’t really be thinking about that anymore. We just have to improve.”
According to St Clair, the Pirates have been working hard in practice this past week.
“We can learn from what we didn’t do right,” St Clair said. “We have got to look ahead to each drill, each practice, and each day. Each little thing that we do, we have got to get better at. We are not going to have a pity-party about last week. That thing is over. We are back at it and we have had a good week of practice, we just have to have a little bit more carry through.”
This week the Pirates will be on the road as they travel to Columbia for a game against Battle High School. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
One of the toughest things the Pirates will face against Battle High is that it is a school they have never played before. Of course, before last week, no-one had played Battle before as it is a brand new school. This week will mark the Spartans second football game.
“We have limited scout,” St Clair said. “They played last week. We have a little bit of information on them.”
Things will be a little different for the Pirates this week. Senior Lijah Harrison is recovering from an injury so junior Austin Kirby will be under the center as Hannibal’s starting quarterback.
However, St Clair has faith in Kirby and his ability to lead the team.
“He has had a good week,” St Clair said. “He is over the jitters of going in there that first game last week. I am sure it gave him jitters. He was 8-of-10 throwing in the second half.”
Page 2 of 2 - Kirby finished the night with 8-of-12 overall with 61 yards passing. Kirby completed passes to four different receivers. Mitch Nichols led the way with three receptions while Dalton Overstreet and Austin Davis each pulled in two passes. Also catching a pass was Wyatt King.
But for as much success as Kirby had throwing the ball, the Pirates are still a dangerous team on the ground.
Nichols led the ground game as well with 21 carries for 71 yards. King, Kirby, Harrison, Shamar Griffith, and Austin Lewton also had carries for the Hannibal rushing corps.
“We do what we need to be successful,” St Clair said. “We will just have to see how the game progresses and we will do what we need to move the football.”
Regardless of what the scoreboard showed, St Clair was happy with how his defense played and how it is looking.
“I wasn’t displeased with our defense,” St Clair said. “We put ourselves in bad situations a couple of times with fumbles and things, but then again, we can always improve.”
How does a team improve? By winning the turnover battle. Hannibal did not recover a turnover in week one.
“We lost the turnover battle and that was probably the difference in the game,” St Clair said. “We have got to come out on top of the turnover battle and you do that through intensity.