HANNIBAL – Kadin Morgan didn’t get much sleep Sunday night.
"It took awhile," Morgan said with a smirk. "It’s my last first day."
The senior for the Hannibal football team started his final season as schools in Missouri could hold their first practices of the fall season. While Morgan started the end of his career, his coach is starting his with the Pirates.
For the first time in 25 years, Hannibal football opened practice without veteran coach Mark St. Clair. Instead, the Quentin Hamner era began during Monday night’s practice at Porter Stadium.
Unlike Morgan, however, Hamner got a good night of sleep.
"I think I got more sleep than I did 10 years ago, to be honest," Hamner said. "Just the ability to know what I’m getting myself into, but we’re just taking it a day at a time so there isn’t any anxiety."
Hamner is just as excited as the players though to get the fall season started. As a Clark County and Culver-Stockton College graduate, Hamner opens practice again where his roots are in northeast Missouri.
That means more to him than any of the other stops he’s had before ending up at Hannibal.
"I’ll take a line from LeBron James since he claims Northeast Ohio," Hamner said. "I claim Northeast Missouri. I really feel like this is my home, and I want my kids to grow up here."
Monday’s practice was simple as the Pirates were limited to just helmets. Most of the practice time was spent on conditioning, stretching and light drills.
It’ll take some time for the veteran players to get used to hearing a different voice giving them instructions. But they’re already starting to buy in to what Hamner preaches.
"He has a passion for game and talks about what he can do for us," Morgan said. "You have to trust him and go with it. He knows what we have to do to get us where we want to be."
It remains to be seen how far the Pirates will go this fall.
But the energy and excitement Hamner has as the fall season kicked off Monday was evident.
"We have building block that were set in the summer," Hamner said. "Getting the kids to this point was critical for us."