Prep Football

Pirates put it all together for first victory

Hannibal's Drake Dudley returns a punt 67 yards for a touchdown during Friday night's game against Mexico. | Photo for the H-W/Mathew Kirby, Courier-Post
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 21, 2019 1:40 am Updated: Sep. 21, 2019 2:55 am

HANNIBAL, Mo. -- It took only a few minutes for Hannibal football team's offense to finally get rolling.

It didn't take much longer after that to turn the game into a blowout.

Hannibal scored touchdowns on its first three offensive possessions, and two special teams scores paved the way for a 46-14 rout over North Central Missouri Conference foe Mexico on Friday night at Porter Stadium.

The victory snaps a three-game losing streak to open the season, and is the first for Quentin Hamner as the Pirates' head coach.

"I think that's what we've been holding back," junior running back Damien French said. "I'm just glad we got to show out like we did in the first half."

It was quite the show.

The Pirates (1-3, 1-0 NCMC) needed just three plays to take a 6-0 lead on French's 20-yard touchdown run with 8 minutes, 53 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.

After Mexico (2-2, 1-1) went three-and-out, Hannibal scored five plays later on French's second touchdown of the quarter on a 13-yard run.

The Bulldogs missed a 28-yard field goal attempt on the ensuing drive, and the Pirates went 80 yards in nine plays as quarterback Courtland Watson hit Tyler Hardy for a 30-yard strike to make it 19-0 with 9:55 in the second quarter.

"The big hurdle for us coming into tonight has been able to run the ball," Hamner said. "But I'm just extremely proud of this offensive staff.

"For 123 years of Hannibal football, they've run the ball and we've had some hiccups. But we executed tonight, and I'm really proud of those guys."

The special teams helped put the game out of reach.

Mexico was forced to punt again, and Hannibal's Drake Dudley scooped up a loose ball and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown, which made it 25-0.

On the ensuing kickoff, Mexico fumbled on the return, and Ashton Watts returned the fumble 18 yards for Hannibal's second touchdown in 11 seconds.

"That just set the tone right there," Dudley said. "We knew the game was over then, especially when you get those back-to-back."

Watson threw a 5-yard scoring pass to Hunter Parker as the Pirates scored 39 first-half points.

Hannibal churned out 317 yards of offense. French ran for 119 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries.

Watson completed 9 of 11 passes with two touchdowns for 142 yards.

Mexico managed 343 total yards of offense, but most of those came in the second half with the game well in hand.

The Bulldogs scored their first touchdown on an 9-yard pass from quarterback Ty Prince to Keyon Mahaney with 4:46 remaining in the second half.

The Pirates believe they've worked out the frustrations and can keep rolling

"We just keep winning now," French said. "That's it."