The Hannibal football team would secure an outright North Central Missouri Conference championship with a victory at Marshall.
The Hannibal football team doesn't want to share.
With a win Friday it won't have to.
Hannibal would secure an outright North Central Missouri Conference championship with a victory at Marshall. The league foes are set for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
“The boys have had a good week of practice getting ready for Marshall,” Hannibal coach Mark St. Clair said. “They are obviously excited about the opportunity to win an outright conference title.”
The Pirates (5-2, 4-0 NCMC) carry a five-game winning streak into their conference finale, fresh off a 41-21 home win over Moberly that gave Hannibal separation atop the standings.
Hannibal put 20 unanswered points on the board in the fourth quarter. The Pirates gained 498 yards on 64 plays against Moberly as its offense posted 40-plus points for the fifth straight contest.
Damien French and JaQuez McGruder combined for 307 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Gabe Worthington threw for 114 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 39 yards and a score.
Worthington's second-quarter pass to Dezi Jones gave the signal caller 22 touchdowns passes in his varsity career, surpassing Roger Walton's previous school record of 21 from 1968-70.
“Gabe has done a great job of executing our schemes,” St. Clair said. “Our ability to throw the ball was the difference in last week's game. … On offense we have to keep doing what we have been doing.”
Marshall (2-5, 1-2) fell 57-19 to Hogan Prep a week ago.
All three of the Owls' touchdowns last Friday came through the air, fitting a trend. They average 211 yards pushing and just 36 yards rushing per game.
Quarterback Ben Haug's favorite target is Jaylen Varner, who leads Marshall with 35 receptions for 613 yards and five touchdowns.
“Marshall has a strong-armed quarterback and a three-time all-conference wideout,” St. Clair said of Haug and Varner. “They will throw the ball 30-plus times.”
Stopping Marshall's aerial attack will be a top priority for Hannibal.
Jones has stepped up as a lockdown defender in the secondary. The senior made two interceptions in the second half against Moberly.
Daylan Reading, Dante Reading and Owen Johnson applied pressure with two tackles for loss a piece last week and look to again make a difference.
“Nothing new for us this week,” St. Clair said. “We have to control what we can control. Our focus, effort and awareness will be the deciding factor.”