Hannibal's rally from a 28-6 deficit to defeat Quincy High School 36-28 in double overtime last week was not just impressive, it might have been historic.
"I think that's the biggest deficit we've ever come back from since I've been here," said HHS Coach Mark St Clair, now in his 16th year as head football coach. "I really haven't looked that hard, but I think if it's not the biggest, it's close to (it)."
In each of Hannibal's two victories this season the Pirates have had to mount second-half comebacks.
"It says a lot to their character," said St Clair.
But the fact the Pirates have had to mount comebacks is a source of concern for the veteran head football coach.
"It is something we've got to get squared away. We can't be starting off in the hole like that any more. We've got to get out to a quicker start and start playing better in the first half," he said. "I'm proud of the fact we're coming back, but it also indicates we need to do something different to start the game."
In their comebacks Hannibal has outscored its opponents by a margin of 50-6 after halftime.
"It's just better execution. We're making some minor adjustments, but the main thing is that both times in the second half our kids had their head up better, were picking up stunts better, were playing with more intensity, and that could be said on both sides of the ball," said St Clair.
The Pirates will enter Friday night's game ranked No. 8 in Class 4, up two slots from last week.
"Obviously you want to be ranked because that means you're doing well. But the rankings mean nothing once the kickoff starts. Then it's a football game and you've got to play," said St Clair.
Hannibal launches its NCMC season against Boonville. While the "other" Pirates are 0-2, St Clair notes that their winless status is deceiving.
"They're a team that's 0-2, but they've played two very good football teams to start the year. They're a good 0-2 football team," he said. "They're also the team that beat us here at home last year to win the conference title. This is the only team that's beat us the last four years in the conference."
In Boonville, Hannibal will see a lot of familiar schemes.
"They're similar in some ways to both teams we've played and they're very similar to us. They want to run a mid-line option. They want to run the dive option. They want to run some power stuff and play action, so they're very similar on both sides of the ball to us here at Hannibal," said St Clair. "We know what we're going to contend with and so do they. It's a matter of playing football. It should be another good football game."
Page 2 of 2 - For some teams, facing a winless opponent after recording back-to-back, emotion-packed wins could be a "trap" game. St Clair is quick to point out his team does not lack motivation. He just hopes it doesn't take until halftime for it to kick in.
"When we start play at 7 o'clock our kids have got to find a way to get their motors running and we've got to do it in the first half. We can't be waiting until the second half like we have the first two weeks," he said.
Friday's game at Porter Stadium begins at 7 p.m.