Playoff primer: Hannibal heads to Gateway City for state quarterfinal matchup

Hannibal’s Waylon Anders (14) hands the ball to Mike Ferreira (28) during the Hannibal Pirates district championship game against the Warrenton Warriors, Friday in Hannibal.  Mathew Kirby (Herald WhigCourier Post)

Hannibal running back Mike Ferreira, left, takes the handoff from quarterback Waylon Anders during last Friday's Class 4 district championship game against Warrenton at Porter Stadium in Hannibal, Mo. | Mathew Kirby photo

HANNIBAL, Mo. — For the fourth consecutive season, the Hannibal football team has reached the Class 4 state quarterfinals. Only once in those three previous postseason trips have the Pirates advanced to the state semifinals.

That was in 2021 when Hannibal went undefeated until the state championship game against Smithville. A vast number of players on the current Hannibal roster played roles on the state runner-up squad and would like nothing more than to get back to Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo. 

First, though, comes a road trip to St. Louis. Here’s a closer look at the Pirates’ task:

Hannibal (11-1) at Lutheran North (10-1), 7 p.m.

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Scouting the Pirates: Hannibal’s plethora of offensive weapons is what has contributed to an 11-game win streak. Sure, senior all-purpose back Aneyas Williams has been his usual impressive self — 1,223 yards rushing with 22 touchdowns and 750 yards receiving with 14 touchdowns — but it’s the ability to engage other players that has led to an average of 47 points per game. Junior running back Mike Ferreira leads the Pirates with 1,635 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns, while senior tight end Kane Wilson has 16 catches and six touchdowns in six games since returning from injury. Junior quarterback Waylon Anders has completed 66 percent of his passes for 1,368 yards with 22 touchdowns and three interceptions. Defensively, the Pirates are allowing 17 points and 214 yards per game, but they have recovered 16 fumbles and grabbed seven interceptions. Linebacker Dylan Bock and cornerback Dorian Turner — both first-team All-North Central Missouri Conference selections — continue to make big plays defensively.

Scouting the Crusaders: Since a five-point loss to Maryville, Lutheran North has won four consecutive games and averaged 56 points per game. Overall, the Crusaders average 49 points per game and have scored 60 or more points three times. The most intriguing stat offensively, however, is the number of interceptions thrown by junior quarterback Dakarri Hollis. That’s zero. Hollis has completed 119 of 165 passes for 2,425 yards and 32 touchdowns with no interceptions. Junior wide receiver Trey Bass has caught 44 passes for 958 yards and 16 touchdowns, while sophomore Michael Clark has 50 catches for 807 yards and 10 touchdowns. Hollis is the Crusaders’ leading rusher with 608 yards and nine touchdowns, while junior JeVon Blackmon has 491 yards and 12 TDs. Junior linebacker Karvon Jefferson anchors the defense with 125 tackles and seven sacks, while junior cornerback Kion Gibson has four interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Overall, the Crusaders have intercepted 13 passes and forced 15 fumbles.

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