The Hannibal High School football team opened its season with a win Saturday morning when the Pirates doubled up Mary Institute and St. Louis County Day School 28-14 in the first ever meeting between the two schools.
While the score shows Hannibal winning by two touchdowns, the game was still tied at 14-14 with over three minutes left in the game. The contest finally turned in Hannibal’s favor after a long touchdown run which was shortly after followed up by an interception return for a TD. In all, the Pirates were able to score twice in 21 seconds to win the game.
Austin Kirby and Dalton Overstreet hooked up for the Pirates’ first touchdown of the season when Kirby completed a four yard pass to Overstreet near the end of the first quarter. The touchdown gave Hannibal a 6-0 lead with 2:46 left in the first quarter.
The Pirates fell behind early in the second quarter when Wyatt King lost a fumble that MICDS returned 25 yards for a touchdown. After a successful kick, the Rams had a 7-6 lead.
The Pirates were able to retake the lead when Shamar Griffith broke free on one of two long touchdown runs. Griffith scored his first touchdown of the year on a 35 yard run right before the two minute warning. King was able to convert the two-point play to give the Pirates a 14-7 lead with 2:04 left in the first half.
But, the Rams weren’t done. MICDS drove down the field and eventually tied the game with the Rams’ only offensive touchdown of the day shortly before the intermission. MICDS found the end zone on a one yard run and tied the game at 14-14 with 0:22 left in the first half.
That would be the last score of the day for the Rams.
Neither team scored in the third quarter as the game remained tied at 14-14 not only heading into the fourth, but nearing the end of the game too. But, as the two minute warning approached, Griffith broke free for his second touchdown of the day. This time Griffith’s run was for 58 yards.  On the Rams’ ensuing drive, Jerry McBride picked off the Rams’ quarterback and returned the ball 40 yards for a touchdown, giving Hannibal a 28-14 lead with 1:39 left to play.
As a team, the Pirates outgained MICDS 301 total yards to 187. Hannibal gained 278 yards on the ground while picking up 23 in the air. The Pirates also recorded 13 first downs while holding the Rams to just five.
The Pirates’ running back duo of Griffith and King were able to pound away on the ground against MICDS as each eclipsed over 100 yards rushing. Griffith totaled 131 yards on 14 carries while King had 102 yards on 15 carries.
Kirby completed five of his 11 passing attempts  and finished the game with 23 yards through the air. Overstreet led all receivers with three catches for 14 yards. McBride had one catch for five yards and Griffith caught one pass for four yards.
In the end, Hannibal won the turnover battle, finishing with three takeaways while only coughing up the ball twice. The Pirates fumbled the ball away twice but picked off three MICDS passes. McBride had two of the interceptions while Overstreet had one.
With the win, Hannibal starts the season 1-0. The Pirates will be on the road again this week as they play their second straight Saturday game. Hannibal’s next opponent will be Helias Catholic in Jefferson City. The Crusaders won their opener, beating Nixa 27-2. Saturday’s kickoff is set for 7 p.m.