By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
HANNIBAL, Mo. -- The Hannibal football team's start Friday night was a little deceiving.
The Pirates' first three possessions resulted in an interception, a fumble and the ball being snapped over the head of punter Mitch Nichols.
Nothing to worry about, cautioned Hannibal coach Mark St. Clair.
"We weren't playing that badly," St. Clair said. "We just needed to quit doing those things."
Three touchdowns during the second quarter put the Pirates in control of a 42-6 North Central Missouri Conference victory over Marshall at Porter Stadium.
The miscue on the punt resulted in an Owls' touchdown -- the first score of the game -- with 11 minutes, 5 seconds left in the second quarter. Hannibal's next three series resulted in touchdown runs by Nichols for 41 yards and a pair of 5-yard runs.
The Pirates' halftime lead built confidence among the players.
"We started playing with a lot more aggression, a lot more determination," St. Clair said.
On Hannibal's first drive of the second half, a reverse went to wide receiver Dalton Overstreet, who threw the ball 48 yards downfield to Jerry McBride for another score. Nichols -- who finished with 221 yards on 30 carries and went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season -- added his fourth touchdown with a 12-yard run late in the third.
St. Clair was satisfied with the way his team bounced back from last week's 56-36 NCMC loss to Moberly.
Now, the Pirates (6-2, 5-1) must prepare for Helias who they will host at 7 p.m. next Friday.
"Tonight was a good way to get back after a no-so-great effort last week," St. Clair said. "It was a good effort all the way around. I was pleased with the kids' efforts."