The Hannibal football team welcomes Marshall to Porter Stadium for its final home game of the regular season at 7 p.m. on Friday night.
The Hannibal football team has had the upper hand against North Central Missouri Conference rival Marshall 10 straight games dating to 2007.
The Pirates (4-3, 3-2 NCMC) hope to continue that trend when they welcome the winless Owls (0-7, 0-4) to Porter Stadium for their final home game of the regular season at 7 p.m. on Friday night.
Hannibal coach Mark St. Clair, whose Pirates are coming off an 18-13 loss at Moberly a week ago, insists the upcoming matchup is not one his team takes lightly.
“We're not good enough to overlook anybody,” St. Clair said. “We only have one game this week and that's Friday.”
Hannibal came up just short last Friday in a chance to move into a tie for the conference lead. The Pirates' potential game-winning drive in the final minute stalled four yards short of the goal line.
During the loss, the Pirates failed to get points on three different trips to the red zone and gained a season-low 134 yards rushing on 34 attempts.
“It was hit and miss,” St. Clair said of his run game. “We had a lot of positive plays and then we had a penalty. We had a positive play and then a fumble. We would have three positive plays and then we'd lose three yards because of a missed assignment. It's the inconsistencies that are hurting us.”
The Pirates look to rectify those problems against Marshall, which has allowed an average of 44 points per game this season. Hogan Prep pummeled the Owls 52-7 in Kansas City last Friday night.
St. Clair noted his team will need to come out strong to knock Marshall down in the early going.
“They've got speed, particularly at the wideout position, and a quarterback (John Haug) who's very solid, a senior who knows what he's doing,” St. Clair said of Marshall. “They've got size. But they lack depth. They tend to start off really well, but their lack of depth has hurt them over the course of the year.
"We can't allow them to get off to a fast start. We've got to do what some other teams have done and make it a tough 48 minutes.”
Marshall coach Adam Huse told the Marshall Democrat-News it will be different facing a Hannibal team that doesn't occupy first place in the NCMC.
Nevertheless, Huse expects a similar challenge to years past.
"They're not at the top of the conference right now, but they always are. They're a great football team," Huse told the paper. "We have to fix ourselves. We have to get better and figure out how that works into what Hannibal does and what we can do to be successful."