HANNIBAL, Mo. — Above all else, Markahl Humphrey is an honest kid.
Humphrey, a senior running back for the Hannibal football team and half of the Pirates’ dynamic backfield combination that includes junior Aneyas Williams, is always aware of his surroundings on a football field.
And his statistics.
Not only is Humphrey adept at picking apart a defense behind Hannibal’s talented offensive line, he’s also quite interested in math — football math, that is.
“I’m aware,” Humphrey said, trying to suppress a grin. “I keep track of (my yardage) on the sideline. I have a goal each game. I’d like to rush for 120 yards.”
As far as Friday night was concerned, it was mission accomplished for the 5-foot-8, 150-pound Humphrey.
He ran for 121 yards and scored three touchdowns, triggering Hannibal’s 49-8 rout of Mexico in a North Central Missouri Conference game before a crowd of 1,500 at Porter Stadium.
The victory was the Pirates’ 17th in the last 18 meetings against Mexico and improved Hannibal’s edge in the all-time series to 59-29-2.
Hannibal is now 3-2, including a 2-0 mark in the NCMC. The Pirates are tied for first with Kirksville (3-2, 2-0), which defeated Marshall 41-17 on Friday. Hannibal travels to Kirksville next Friday.
Humphrey teamed with Williams, who rushed for an identical 121 yards, for 242 of Hannibal’s 282 yards on the ground. Humphrey only carried once in the second half and Williams once after the first quarter.
Hannibal led 49-0 at halftime, meaning the entire second half was played with a running clock. The Pirates lost their chance for a second straight shutout, which would have been the first such accomplishment since 2012, when Mexico scored midway through the final period.
“We performed well in the first half,” Hannibal coach Jeff Gschwender said. “We came out played like we expect to play.”
Hannibal’s explosive set of running backs, coupled with a rapidly developing sophomore quarterback in Waylon Anders and its above-average offensive front, were all singled out by Gschwender.
Anders completed 14 of 16 passes for 171 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He has now thrown for 701 yards, nine touchdowns and just two interceptions in his rookie season.
“It’s fun being the offensive coordinator,” he said. “We just need to clean a few things up.”
Humphrey scored on runs of 23, 1 and 46 yards. Williams added three scores of his own on a pair of 1-yard bursts and a 14-yard reception.
Both Humphrey and Williams are on pace for 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Williams has 770 yards and Humphrey 531 yards. The Pirates have produced at least one 1,000-yard back in 20 of the last 22 seasons.
Humphrey hopes to use an explosive senior year to be able to play college ball somewhere.
“I know I’m undersized when it comes to colleges, so I have to show them I am tough,” Humphrey said.
Humphrey said he enjoys working with Williams, who has offers from most of the nation’s major NCAA Division I programs.
“During practice, we are always pushing each other to get better,” Humphrey said.
Williams’ three touchdowns boosted his career total to 90, matching the 90 Shamar Griffith scored between 2013-16. Williams also boosted his career point total 577 and trails only Griffith (597) in the Hannibal record book.
Williams also is closing in on the all-time area scoring record, held by Ashton Gronewold at 614. That record has stood since 2003. Only six players have scored more than 500 points in area history.
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