HANNIBAL— After a narrow and disappointing loss to Moberly last Friday, the Hannibal Pirates will look to clean up mistakes and get back on track this week.
Hannibal (5-1) will head to Marshall (2-5) this Friday for a conference game against the Owls.
“We understand what we need to do better moving forward against a good Marshall football team,” said Hannibal head coach Quentin Hamner. “They are explosive, they have the ability to score on any play and I think they are in the same shoes a lot of us our in our conference, they are trying to find their identity.
The Pirates were unable to get on track in last Friday’s 14-13 loss to Moberly. Hannibal missed an extra point kick, allowed Moberly to convert on a fourth-and-seven play late in the game and had a bad snap that led to a safety.
Most importantly, Hannibal uncharacteristically turned the ball over five times in the loss to Moberly.
“We keep hammering these (turnover) issues,” Hamner said. “We have to as a coaching staff, as a football team and as individuals, take better initial responsibility for our mistakes and it starts with me. It’s my job to correct them and it’s our job to get them better.”
Hamner added that Hannibal had too many mental errors in last week’s game, but the team will work to improve as the season moves forward.
“For our kids and our community, I want to make sure that everyone understands that a one-point loss does not define our season,” Hamner said. “We may be in jeopardy for our conference title, but in the end I think everyone plays for the big trophy at the end. As long as our team gets better, that’s what we are looking to do.”
Last week’s point total of 13 was by far the lowest scoring by the Pirates all season. In Hannibal’s previous five games, they averaged 42 points a game.
After scoring a touchdown in the opening drive of the Moberly game, Hannibal’s offense sputtered for the remainder of the game. The Pirates were held scoreless in the second and third quarters, until scoring a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
“We just didn’t execute,” Hamner said. “The word of the week this week is execute. We have to be able to come out and play a certain type of tempo and urgency we really couldn’t establish because we couldn’t get in rhythm.”
Hannibal also dealt with a foot injury to starting quarterback Courtland Watson, who left the game early in the third quarter and did not return.
Hamner said he thinks Watson will be ready to go and has been giving Aneyas Williams reps at quarterback in practice in case Watson can not go.
Williams remains a dynamic player in Hannibal’s offense, rather it is in the rushing game or the passing game. He had an early touchdown reception in last week’s game, but did not play a big role in the Moberly game.
“I think the biggest (reason) we didn’t get him involved is because of the misfortunes and fumbles,” Hamner said.
Defensively, Hannibal has allowed an average of 17 points per game, but the Pirates coaching staff feels there is room for improvement.
Hamner said his defense needs to get better and it starts up front.
“Our back end is on the ball and we were overrunning plays,” Hamner said. “We were letting balls get over our head and that’s not natural. We are doing fundamental things halfway correct, but we are not finishing plays, not finishing our technique and that’s on me.”
Hamner feels that is team is hungry to redeem itself on the road this week in Marshall.
“We thought we were going to come in and at any point of that game on Friday, we felt like we could had been in control of it,” Hamner said. “We just didn’t capitalize on situations or errors. We had a fourth-and-seven, that all we had to do was bat the ball down and we win the game.”