For a pair of teams so close together, the Hannibal Pirates and Quincy Blue Devils haven’t met in a varsity football game since 1985. That will change Friday night when the Pirates play host to the Devils in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Porter Stadium.
The fact the two teams have not met in so long has nothing to do with how the two head coaches get along because they are downright chummy.
“Coach St Clair and I have a good relationship,” said Quincy Coach Rick Little. “It’s going to be fun to square off on Friday night.”
“We talk on a regular basis, even in the offseason. It’s a good relationship,” said St Clair. “We want this to be a class game.”
Among the topics that came up when the two men first started chatting was getting their teams together.
“He came there five years ago. We’ve talked the first four about getting a game going. They finally agreed to it,” said St Clair. “I think it’s neat we’re getting this done, even though it’s only one year.”
Why just one year?
“The only reason this is one year is they had some teams added to their conference next year,” explained the Pirate coach. “We’ll just have to see if it works out in the future.”
Even if it is a “one-and-done” situation, St Clair expects it to be a memorable encounter.
“It should be a great game with two good teams,” he said. “We’re hoping for a big crowd.”
Hannibal’s scouting report on Quincy can be boiled down to two works - big and fast.
“They’re big up front. They have several fast backs. They feature one back named (Malique) Robbins who is very fast. Their quarterback does an efficient job running the offense,” said St Clair. “They didn’t throw a lot the first game. They’re a Wing-T.
“Defensively they’ve got big kids up front and big linebackers. It’s going to pose some issues for us.”
Hannibal’s chances of improving its record to 2-0 hinges on a few factors.
“Just like every other game, the game is going to boil down to blocking and tackling,” said St Clair. “I think like most every game, it doesn’t matter if it’s seventh grade, high school or the NFL, turnovers will be a big factor.”
Page 2 of 2 - Turnovers were not a problem for the Pirates in last week’s 33-23 win over Quincy Notre Dame.
“We were obviously pleased with the game last Friday, but just because you win doesn’t mean you don’t have things to work on. We have to get better at some stuff that stood out on film. Those are the things we’ve been trying to correct this week,” said St Clair.
Hannibal’s coach believes his troops are ready for Friday night’s border war.
“It’s been a good, solid week,” he said. “We had to fight the usual first game soreness a little bit to get them through the first day or so of practice, but other than that it’s been very good.”
Are the Pirates more fired up to play QHS than they were to face QND?
“I can’t judge how fired up they are. They’re ready to go,” said St Clair. “We only ask the kids to get fired up a certain number of games a year. It’s not like a lot of other sports. We have limited contests. Every Friday they need to get fired up and ready to go.”