Hannibal Jason Noland

Hannibal assistant football coach Jason Noland, left, discusses a play with quarterback Courtland Watson during a game earlier this season. Noland will serve as the interim head coach while the school district reviews a personnel matter involving Pirates coach Quentin Hamner.

HANNIBAL, Mo. — The Hannibal football team’s Class 4 District 4 championship and berth in the state quarterfinals validates the Pirates’ ability to sidestep adversity.

Saturday’s news is just another obstacle to circumvent.

Hannibal Public Schools superintendent Susan Johnson announced via a press release Pirates football coach Quentin Hamner, who also is a physical education teacher, is being “placed on a paid leave of absence from all of his duties” while the district reviews a personnel matter.

“The district has received information that if proven true could impact Mr. Quentin Hamner’s employment and although no determination has been made, a review is underway,” Johnson said.

Jason Noland will serve as the interim head coach during the review. The Pirates (8-2) are scheduled to host either MICDS next weekend in the state quarterfinals.

“You look at 2020 and this entire football season has been not knowing what’s going to happen with the pandemic, with injuries, with everything,” said Noland, an assistant coach who is also the dean of students at the high school. “These guys have a goal. They have a mission. They know what they want to do. They know the work that it’s going to take to put into it.

“We’re going to get that done this week and prepare for whoever we have to play next.”

Pivot and proceed. That’s the new mantra.

“You always have to be ready for something to change,” Noland said.

The Pirates have been at every turn.

Their season opener against Jefferson City Helias was canceled due to a delay in the start of the school year caused by the coronavirus pandemic. They’ve had starters, including junior quarterback Courtland Watson, sidelined by injury and others quarantined because of the coronavirus.

And they’ve played twice – and won both times – with Noland serving as the head coach.

Hamner was suspended from coaching and teaching August 23 when the Hannibal administration was forced to review an off-campus incident. According an arrest report from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Hamner was arrested at 12:09 a.m. August 22 for second-degree property damage and first-degree trespassing.

The Clark County prosecuting attorney’s office declined to pursue charges and the issue was dropped. Hamner was reinstated and returned to teaching and coaching September 6.

In his absence, though, the Pirates opened their season with a 32-21 victory at Jefferson City – Hannibal’s first victory against the Jays in six decades.

Hamner also missed Friday night’s 48-13 victory over Moberly in the Class 4 District 4 championship game for what school administrators said were personal reasons.

His absence didn’t change the Pirates’ focus.

Noland doesn’t believe anything will.

“There are bigger goals they want to achieve,” Noland said. “They know what they have to do to achieve them.”

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