Heading into the district championship, a close matchup was predicted.
Moberly was playing in front of the Spartan faithful and the last time these two teams played, Moberly squeaked out a 14-13 win over Hannibal. This time, however, momentum swung early in the Pirates' direction.
Hannibal took the opening kickoff to the Moberly 25-yard line, giving the Pirate offense prime field position. Damien French then punched in a 13-yard touchdown.
Moberly would answer with a score of its own, though. Dominic Stoneking connected with Toby Short for a 7-yard touchdown. The point after was blocked to knot it up at 6-6 with 7:41 left in the first quarter.
At the end of the first quarter, Hannibal had the upper hand on time of possession, running 14 plays for 100 yards compared to Moberly’s 13 plays for 77 yards.
Hannibal then took over, scoring four times in the second quarter to blow the game open. First, a 5-yard reception from Courtland Watson to Aneyas Williams made it 13-6. French then scored two more rushing touchdowns, the second a 25-yard run, to make the lead 27-6. Then, with just under three minutes to go in the half, Watson connected with Drake Dudley for his second passing touchdown of the quarter. By halftime, the Pirates had a commanding 34-6 lead over the Spartans.
Moberly had found it difficult to control Hannibal’s senior running back. French carried the ball 14 times for 117 yards, averaging just over 8.3 yards per carry. Coming out of the half, Moberly capitalized on a Hannibal fumble. Jarrett Kinder punched in the 6-yard touchdown rush, cutting the score to 34-13 with 8:19 left in the third quarter.
Unfortunately for Moberly, This would be the last time they would find the endzone.
Watson found Williams for the second time to make it 41-13 with 4:32 left in the third quarter.
Moberly found some life soon after, forcing a fumble on their own 46-yard line. However, a Stoneking pass found the hands of Hannibal defender John Clubine in the Moberly endzone, resulting in a touchback. Stoneking finished the game with three interceptions.
French found the endzone one more time on a huge 57-yard run to make it 48-13 with 8:14 left in the fourth quarter.
That is how the game would finish.
French ended the night with 24 carries for 226 yards and four touchdowns. Compare this to the 142 total rushing yards that Hannibal was able to muster in the October 9 matchup against Moberly.
Moberly (8-2) lost its second straight district championship Friday. Last year, the Pirates were shut out at home to Lutheran St. Charles, 41-0.
Hannibal (8-2) will play the winner of St. Dominic/Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School in the state quarterfinal round on November 21.