Pirates trail by only two at 14-12 at the half
What a difference a year makes.
After knocking off Class 4 Hannibal 20-14 in 2011 in Hannibal, the Boonville Pirates football team returned to the scene of the crime Friday night in the conference opener for both teams.
Although the Hannibal Pirates entered the game 2-0 compared to 0-2 for Boonville, many felt like this would be the biggest mis-match since the two teams started playing back in 2008.
However the first half was anything but a mis-match as the Pirates matched Hannibal touchdown for touchdown in the first half only to trail by a score of 14-12.
As for the second half, that was a different story has Hannibal scored on four out of five possessions en route to a 41-12 victory.
While the loss dropped Boonville to 0-3 overall and 0-1 in the North Central Missouri Conference, head coach Devin Brown said the game was a tail of two halves.
"The first half were playing with Hannibal and then in the second half we had that three and out to start the third quarter and didn't move the ball. However, Hannibal had done that in both of their games previously, where they would come out and struggle in the first half and then in the second half they are a little different team. We played with them in the first half and in the second half they were a little bit bigger, stronger and faster and they got to us a little bit. We just have to play four quarters and that's what we talked about after the game."
Of course the schedule figures to get a little easier for Boonville in the coming weeks. While the Pirates' first-three opponents have a combined record of 9-0, the next-two opponents (Knob Noster and Mexico) are a combined 2-4.
The Pirates also picked up some valuable points in the loss to Hannibal. Since Hannibal is a Class 4 school, the Pirates received points in the Class 3 District 6 standings.
After three games, California leads at 3-0 with 47.33 points, followed by Centralia at 3-0 with 44 points, Macon at 2-1 with 30.67 points, Southern Boone 1-2 with 27.99 points, Chillicothe 0-3 with 24.34 points, Boonville at 0-3 with 21 points, Fulton at 0-3 with 9 points and Missouri Military Academy at 0-3 also with 9 points.
Brown said the Pirates are going to try to get win No. 1 this coming Friday night against Knob Noster. "We have to come out and get after it," Brown said.
Of course the Pirates did just that in the first half against Hannibal. Although three first-half turnovers may have contributed to Boonville's 12 points, they were opportunistic to say the least.
After a turnover fest in the first quarter, both by the home team, the Hannibal Pirates finally looked like the team that had beaten both Quincy Notre Dame and Quincy, Illinois on their third possession of the game. Starting from the Boonville 44, Hannibal needed only eight plays to get the score when senior running back Caleb Bieniek took the plunge from 5 yards out with 10:01 left in the half to go up 7-0.
Boonville didn't go down without a fight, though. After a long return on the kick off by senior Kelsey Callaway to the Hannibal 14, the Pirates came storming back with a five-play drive for the score when junior quarterback Jacob Francis hit senior tight end Jay Barnhart on a 4-yard pass with 7:14 left to cut the lead at 7-6.
However with no kicker after the injury to Liam Tobeler, the Pirates had no choice but to go for the two-point conversion. As it turned out, Hannibal held Callaway short of the goal line to maintain a one-point lead.
But even that was short-lived as Hannibal came right back on the insuing kick off and initiated a seven play, 63-yard drive for the score when senior quarterback Dalton Powell hit Bieniek on a 33-yard pass with 4:57 left to go up 14-6.
Meanwhile, after forcing another three and out by Boonville, the Pirates were the own worst enemy while muffing a punt on their next possession at the 29. Three plays later from the Hannibal 4, Francis hit paydirt with 1:51 remaining to cut the lead to two at 14-12.
Boonville never got any closer in the ballgame as Hannibal came in the second half and scored on four out of five possessions.
Senior Mitch Nichols hit paydirt on two of those scores on runs of 12 and 22 yards to make it 28-12 in the third. Then, in the fourth quarter, Bieniek hit paydirt for the third time in the game on a 21-yard run with 9:26 left to extend the lead to 35-12. Meanwhile, on the final touchdown of the ballgame, Powell took the plunge from the one to cap off a 7 play drive which started at the Boonville 41.
While scoring 27 unanswered points in the second half against Boonville, Hannibal has now outscored its first-three opponents by a score of 77-6.
As for Boonville, they snapped a string of nine quarters with two touchdowns in the second quarter. However for the season, the Pirates have been outscored by its first-three opponents 79-19.
In the second half against Hannibal, the Pirates had four three and outs with one interception and another possession go back to the Pirates on downs.
For the game, Hannibal had 21 first downs along with 351 yards rushing and 71 passing for a total of 422. Boonville, meanwhile, had only four first downs along with 59 yards rushing and 36 passing for a total of 95.
Kelsey Callaway led all rushers in the game for Boonville with 11 carries for 23 yards. Jacob Francis had 11 rushes for 18 yards while Dakota Meyer added five for 15 and Jared Oser one for 3.
Francis also completed 5 of 11 passes for 36 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Senior Damario Walker was the leading receiver in the game with three catches for 32 yards while Jay Barnhart had one catch for 4 yards and one touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Jalen Poindexter led the Pirates with 13 solo stops along with seven assisted tackles and one forced fumble.
Junior Brett Kenney finished the game with eight solo stops and four assisted tackles, while Jared Oser added five solo stops and seven assisted tackles, Tyler Peterson with three solo stops and six assisted tackles, Jacob Francis with six solo stops and one assisted tackle, Dakota Meyer with three solo stops and four assisted tackles, Kyle Cook with three solo stops, three assisted tackles, one tackle for a loss and one sack, Nolan Murray also with three solo stops, three assisted tackles and one fumble recovery, Jay Barnhart with two solo stops and four assisted tackles, Damario Walker with three solo stops, one assisted tackle and two interceptions, Jordan Bledsoe also with three solo stops and one assisted tackle, Kelsey Callaway with one solo stop, one assisted tackle and one fumble recovery, Brennan Hammers with one solo stop and one assisted tackle and Gus Kemp, Ben Rumbaoa, Jordan Weaver and JT Washington each with one tackle.