The Hannibal junior varsity football team responded after a slow start to secure a 24-16 win over Palmyra in its first game of the season at Porter Stadium.

The Hannibal junior varsity football team was shut out for the entire first half Monday night.

But the Pirates came alive after the break.

Hannibal responded after a slow start to secure a 24-16 win over Palmyra in its first game of the season at Porter Stadium. 

Quarterback Courtland Watson and running back Tanner Leonard scored touchdowns for Hannibal in the third quarter to put the Pirates in the lead after trailing 8-0 at halftime. 

Leonard punched in a score on the ground with 7:21 left in the third, while Watson carried the ball on an option play for a 30-yard keeper to put Hannibal up 12-8.

Leonard scored his second touchdown of the game via a 4-yard run to make it 18-8. 

The Pirates then blocked a Palmyra punt in what turned into perhaps the most exciting play of the game. Hannibal lineman Kameron Foust picked up the loose ball, shook off defenders and rumbled to the end zone for a 24-8 lead.

“Truly a sight to see, a lineman's dream come true,” said Hannibal coach Kyle Arthaud.

Drake Dudley and John Clubine came down with interceptions for the Pirates, while Leonard forced and recovered a fumble. 

Brody Lehenbauer and Dylan Redd scored touchdowns for Palmyra, with Ross Arch and Lehenbauer coming through on 2-point conversions. 

The Panthers cut their deficit to eight points late in the fourth quarter but got no closer. 

“The JV played great shutting out the Hannibal offense,” Palmyra coach Adam Gunterman said of the first half. “The freshmen in the third quarter gave up too much. They have a lot of growing but will develop into good players.”