Pirates cap undefeated regular season, begin chase of state championship


Hannibal's Kaiser Greenwell hauls in a 60-yard touchdown pass from Courtland Watson in the first quarter of Friday's victory at Columbia Battle. Photo courtesy Mathew Kirby

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The eighth undefeated regular season in the history of the Hannibal football program is officially in the record books.

Now comes the chance to accomplish what none of the previous seven could or had the chance to do.

That’s win a state championship.

The Pirates wrapped up a 9-0 run with a 42-26 victory over Columbia Battle on Friday night. Hannibal scored three first-quarter touchdowns, led 35-6 at halftime and rested its starters in the fourth quarter when the Spartans scored two touchdowns.

The 2021 squad joins the 1909, 1912, 1979, 1981, 1989, 2000 and 2015 teams in the undefeated ranks. The Pirates lost in the sectionals in 1989 and in the state quarterfinals in 2000 and 2015. The other four squads didn’t have the opportunity to play in the postseason.

The Pirates scored touchdowns on their first four possessions. Aneyas Williams started the barrage with a 16-yard touchdown run with 8:51 to play in the first quarter. Kaiser Greenwell caught a 60-yard strike from Courtland Watson for the second touchdown, and Watson connected with John Clubine on a 17-yard touchdown pass for a 21-0 edge.

Williams’ 40-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarterback made it 28-0.

The sophomore all-purpose back rushed 11 times for 99 yards and three scores, while Tyler Hardy had 92 yards rushing and AJ Thomas added 77. Watson completed 4 of 9 passes for 124 yards and three touchdowns.

Linebacker Ashton Watts, defensive end Rommel Pinner and Greenwell, a starting safety, each had seven tackles, while Pinner finished with three sacks.

Hannibal will be the top seed in Class 4 District 5 and should get a first-round bye next Friday since there are only six teams in the district.

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