MEXICO, Mo. — The Hannibal Pirates came out of Friday night’s matchup in Mexico at Hawthorne Heights Stadium with a hard-fought 48-21 win.
Kaiser Greenwell would get a 20-yard run for the Pirates to get the offense going in their opening drive, and AJ Thomas would find the end zone for the Pirates giving them a 7-0 lead.
“Our team played hard tonight,” Thomas said. “We had great work ethic and I am glad to be back with my team tonight. Glad to help my team and for us to get better every day.”
The Bulldogs offense would come out ready to get on the scoreboard. Andrew Runge would carry the ball several times for the Bulldogs to get the offense going, however the Pirates defense would receive a penalty flag for offsides to help the Bulldogs out.
The Bulldogs’ offense would explode with a run by Anthony Shivers; however, the Pirates would receive another penalty for a horse collar and help the Bulldogs offense. Four plays later the Bulldogs would be stopped on the Pirates 25-yard line by Greenwell for the Pirates to take over the ball on downs.
The Pirates next possession was on a roll with a couple plays before it was cut short with a fumble on the play and recovered by the Bulldogs on the Pirates 38-yard line. On the Bulldogs last possession before the end of the first quarter, they would move the ball up the field, but five plays later they would turn the ball over to the Pirates on downs.
The Pirates went right to business to start the second quarter. Three carries by Thomas would help kickstart the Pirates. Quarterback Courtland Watson would connect with John Clubine and on the next play would throw a touchdown pass to Aneyas Williams to put the Pirates up 14-0.
On the Bulldogs’ next possession, the Pirates defense would once again step it up and not allow the Bulldogs to score. Brady Zimmerman and Ashton Watts had stops for the Pirates.
Hannibal needed just three plays to find the end zone again. Watson would connect with Williams on a six-yard pass, a carry by Thomas, and a 34-yard pass to Greenwell to find the end zone, giving the Pirates a 21-0 lead.
Mexico would get their offense going with several runs by Michael White and Andrew Runge. Quarterback Ty Sims would keep the ball and eventually find Michael White on a 12-yard run to the end zone getting the Bulldogs on the scoreboard with 11 plays. Bulldogs would trail the Pirates by two touchdowns.
Hannibal wasted no time on their next possession finding the end zone and extending their lead. Williams would run the kick return to the 47-yard line for the Pirates. Three plays later Watson would once again connect with Greenwell on a 45-yard pass to the end zone giving the Pirates a 28-7 lead.
“I think we did great tonight," Greenwell said. "You must give credit to the guy’s up front. Those guys go to work every day and it goes unseen and it shows on Friday nights. I got put into a big position on the team this year and being a leader and leading my team is important."
Greenwell said there were a couple mistakes on defense against Mexico.
"I feel like we gave it to them, and they didn’t earn some of those plays," Greenwell said. "We just need to focus and get ready for Kirksville and play hard on Friday.”
The Bulldogs’ offense was not able to do anything on their next possession and punted the ball away to the Pirates. Williams would run the ball to the 50-yard line for the Pirates. Pirates’ offense would once again move the ball down the field with several passes to Greenwell, Williams, and Clubine.
However, the ball would be intercepted in the end zone by the Bulldogs' Michael White, who would run the ball all the way down to the Pirates 10-yard line to be tackled by Watson. Mexico needed one play to find the end zone with a pass from Sims to White, getting the Bulldogs back in this game and trailing 28-14 going into halftime.
Mexico would receive the ball to start the third. However, offensively they were not able to capitalize and would have to punt the ball.
Watson would run the ball 20-yards to help the Pirates. Pirates would take 10 plays to find the end zone again with a 1-yard run by Williams giving the Pirates a 35-14 lead.
Williams would do an onside kick to the Bulldogs and Greydon Sewell of the Bulldogs would let it hit him and the Pirates would recover the ball by Watts. Pirates once again wasted no time finding the end zone. Six plays and Williams would find the end zone for the Pirates, extending their lead 42-14.
Mexico did not have an answer for the Pirates on their next possession. Several runs by Sims, Runge and Shivers gave the Bulldogs hope, but the pressure by the Pirates defense was too much for them and they would have to punt the ball away.
The Pirates would close out the third quarter with the ball on a 20-yard run by Thomas. Pirates’ offense once again would answer on seven plays with a touchdown run by Thomas to extend their lead to 48-14.
The Bulldogs would answer back quickly to the Pirates taking six seconds to find the end zone with a pass to Anthony Shivers. Mexico would trail still 48-21.
Courtland Watson was 11-for-14 passing for three touchdowns. Thomas had 204 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while Williams had 116 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Kaiser Greenwell led the team in tackles with 11.
With the win, Hannibal would move to 5-0 on the season and 2-0 in the North Central Missouri Conference. Hannibal will be back at home next Friday night when they host NCMC foe Kirksville.