Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Pirates give Kirksville third straight shutout

  • From start to finish, every aspect of the Hannibal football team was firing on all cylinders Friday night as the Pirates beat Kirksville 48-0. It was the third straight shutout for the Tigers.“It was a very efficient and effective game,” Hannibal coach Mark St Clair said. “Our efficiency on the offensive...
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    From start to finish, every aspect of the Hannibal football team was firing on all cylinders Friday night as the Pirates beat Kirksville 48-0. It was the third straight shutout for the Tigers.
    “It was a very efficient and effective game,” Hannibal coach Mark St Clair said. “Our efficiency on the offensive side was as good as it has been all year long and defensively we were able to limit what they (Kirksville) were doing. I am very pleased with the effort of our kids.”
    After winning the opening toss, Hannibal (5-0, 3-0 NCMC) choose to defer to the second half. The Pirate defense gave up a first down on the first play of the game, but then forced Kirksville to punt four plays later from the Tiger 37 yard line. However, Lijah Harrison blocked the punt and the Pirates took over on their own 43 (after a penalty).
    Five plays later, Hannibal quarterback Dalton Powell broke free for a 21-yard touchdown run to give the Pirates the lead.
    “I read the option and there was a lane that opened up for me,” Powell said. “The blocking up front just gave me a hole and I took it. It was all on the line and they did a really great job.”
    After being forced to punt on their next possession, the Pirates went on to score a TD on the three drives. Caleb Bieniek scored on a three play drive that he capped with a 12-yard run. Powell then finished a five play drive with a 10-yard pass to Mitch Nichols for a score.
    “We were very efficient throwing the ball,” St Clair said. “You have to be able to do that. Otherwise teams are going to put eight or nine in the box. We don’t necessarily want to throw it all the time, but we can and we will, the effectiveness of which will open up the running game, and that is what it did tonight.”
    Four plays into Kirksville’s ensuing drive, Justin Price picked off Tiger QB Mitch Kriegshauser and returned the ball 20 yards for a touchdown to give Hannibal a 27-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
    In the second quarter, Hannibal took its opening drive 72 yards for a score. Powell completed a pass to Harrison for 10 yards on the first play and after five consecutive running plays, Powell found Harrison again, this time for a 25-yard scoring strike.
    “I always enjoy throwing the ball,” Powell said. “So it was nice to get a couple that I can say that I threw.”
    That was Powell’s final pass of the game. He finished the night a perfect 5-for-5 on passing attempts for 63 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, Powell had five carries for 35 yards and a touchdown.
    Page 2 of 3 - “I am not quite sure,” Powell said. “But, I think this might have been the first time I had two passing touchdowns (in the same game). It felt really good and both of them were really well designed plays that we executed.”
    Four plays later Hannibal’s defense forced Kirksville running back Parker Osborn to fumble and Price recovered it for his second turnover of the game. However, Powell turned the ball over on the very next play when he fumbled.
    After forcing Kirksville to punt, the Pirates took over on their own 3-yard line. Nichols moved the ball to the 15 with a 12-yard carry right before Jahwaun Cassidy broke free for an 85-yard score. It was Cassidy’s only carry of the game.
    “That was a counter play,” St Clair said. “He is just fast. If he has a crease, he is going to make something happen with it.”
    Hannibal scored one last time on its next drive. After another five play drive, Nichols scored on a 1-yard carry to give Hannibal a 48-0 lead with 16 seconds left in the first half.
    With all the scoring, Hannibal found the end zone seven times in the first half, the pace of the game was slowed even further as both teams combined for 23 penalties. Kirksville piled up 16 of them and was penalized for 87 yards. The Tigers only gained 75 total yards in the first half.
    When told of the penalty yards for Kirksville in the first half and that the Pirate defense allowed less yards than Kirksville piled up in penalties, Powell was excited.
    “It was a really good shining game for our defense,” Powell said. “They stepped up and have really been improving. I think this was really their coming out game and everybody is going to respect them and everybody knows that we are not only good on offense, but we are also very sound on defense.”
    Playing with a running clock in the second half, Hannibal did not play its starters at all. The junior varsity took the field for all 24 minutes and preserved the shutout.
    “It felt really good to have the team dominate in almost all phases of the game in the first half,” Powell said. “It was also good to see the younger kids get some time that they deserve with all the practice time that they put in. It was a really fun game overall.”
    Kirksville had two possessions in the second half. During the first possession, the Tigers moved the ball all the way to the Hannibal 35 yard line, before Andy Colborn picked off a pass and took it 12 yards before being tackled. Kirksville’s next possession followed a nine-play drive by the Pirates that ate up the rest of the third quarter and a lot of the fourth quarter. Hannibal finally turned the ball over when the Pirates failed to convert on a fourth and four.
    Page 3 of 3 - “Give credit to the kids,” St Clair said. “They got up there, played and had fun. It was a great night for senior night. It is just fun when kids do what they are coached and have fun doing it and we are successful. It was just a good night all the way around.”
    Once again, the Kirksville offense moved the ball forward against the Pirates JV. But it didn’t last as Kirksville turned the ball over again. The Tigers picked up three first downs during the drive, but following the third one, Kyle Messer sacked the Tiger QB for a 6-yard loss. Kirksville fumbled on the next play and in stepped Colborn to recover the fumble. It was Colborn’s second turnover of the half.
    Hannibal ran two plays, gaining a first down before kneeling on the next three plays to run the clock out and bring the game to a close.
    Offensively, Bieniek finished the night with seven carries for 52 yards and a TD as well as catching one pass for 14 yards. Nichols had six carries for 38 yards and a score as well as one catch for 10 yards and a score. Harrison caught two passes for 35 yards and a score while Trevor Anderson caught one pass for 4 yards.
    “That is the way we like it,” St Clair said. “We have enough kids to spread the ball around and that makes it tough for defenses. It also keeps our kids a little more fresh.”
    Defensively, the Pirates recorded three sacks, picked off two passes, recovered two fumbles and blocked a punt. Jake Borgmeyer also batted down a Kirksville pass at the end of the first quarter.
    “Anytime you can win the turnover battle, you are more than likely going to win te game,” St Clair said. “That is something we always talk about and we did win the turnover battle. … Defensively we put pressure on them and that made a difference. I was really pleased that we were able to stop the run and make them throw. That was our plan all along.”
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