Grit will make up for Pirates' lack of size

Hannibal senior lineman Dante Reading, left, lines up during a scrimmage against Clark County during last week's Hannibal Jamboree at Porter Stadium.
Mat Mikesel/Courier-Post
By Mat Mikesell, Hannibal Courier-Post Sports Editor
Posted: Aug. 27, 2019 9:39 am

HANNIBAL – Kadin Morgan is aware the Hannibal football team isn’t the tallest team in the state.

The senior linebacker is used to that.

"We’ve never had big personnel," Morgan said. "But we’ve always outworked teams and work out hardest to be the best we can be."

That’s what the Pirates will rely on this fall to be successful. While they intimidate any team with their tall frames, they’ll be the more physical and hard-working team.

It worked during former coach Mark St. Clair’s tenure as he won 185 games in 23 seasons in Hannibal. It’ll be no different under first-year coach Quentin Hamner.

"Sometimes when you’re not the biggest you say you have to be faster, or you put them in conflict," Hamner said. "You just have to put the kids in the best position they can be in."

The effort can overcome the lack of size, too.

"That’s the staple," Hamner said. "If we play hard, we’ll never let what happens affect our effort. That’ll be our staple as long as I’m here."

The Pirates know that well.

Senior lineman Dante Reading, who was a second-team all-state selection last year, stands in at just 5-foot-7. Despite that size, he worked his way to record 50 tackles and six sacks last season.

"You just have to outwork the person in front of you," Reading said. "You just have to stay low."

That’ll be the case on both sides of the ball, too. Junior running back Damien French is the tallest player on the offensive side of the ball at 6-2. Hannibal’s starting quarterback Courtland Watson comes in at 5-11.

The Pirates insist that lack of size won’t be a problem.

It never was in the past.

In Case You Missed It

 Evan Dalton wins National Fence Painting championship
HANNIBAL | Evan Dalton, 12, of Hannibal, had been competing in local fence painting contests during National Tom Sawyer Days since he was 9 years old, before being named 2020 National Fence Painting Champion on July 4.