Winner advances to district title game next week

The 7-3 Hannibal Pirates will play host Friday night to the 6-4 Westminster Christian Academy Wildcats in a Class 4, District 4 semifinal game.

The game at Porter Stadium will kick off at 7 p.m.

The winner of the contest in Hannibal will move on to the district title game against the winner of top-seeded Ft. Zumwalt East and fourth-seeded Priory.

Both Hannibal, the district's number two seed, and Westminster, seeded number three, won their district openers handily last week. On Saturday, Westminster, which is located in Town and Country, prevailed 35-17 over Parkway Central. Playing Friday night, Hannibal blitzed St. Charles 56-0 after building a 42-point lead in the opening half.

"Last Friday we were really solid on both sides of the ball," HHS coach Mark St. Clair said. "We still have things we can improve on and hopefully a good week of practice has helped."

Among the Hannibal highlights were a record-tying four touchdown passes from Gabe Worthington to Will Whitaker. Worrthington's performance equaled the four TD aerials tossed by Charlie Fohey against Ft. Zumwalt East in 2009. Mat Sims caught all four of Fohey's passes against Ft. Zumwalt East to set the HHS receiving record for touchdown passes caught in a game at HHS, which Whitaker tied.

The records came as news to St. Clair.

“It wasn't until after the game that I realized records had been tied,” he said.

As for the Wildcats, who enter the contest riding the crest of a three-game winning streak, St. Clair said they are a "well coached, solid football team."

On offense, the HHS coach noted their size on the line and depth in the backfield.

"They are really big on their offense line and use several backs in their running game," he said. "The team that wins the line of scrimmage will be the team that wins (the game)."

As for Westminster's defense, it has a familiar look.

"They are similar to us on defense. They run a 3-4 and will change fronts and stunt on occasion," St. Clair said.

Based on this week's practices St. Clair believes his team is ready to play.

"It is been a real solid week of practice. We just need to get to game time and perform," he said.