HANNIBAL — Getting back to .500 was the goal the Hannibal football team accomplished Friday night.
“That’s been the goal ever since we went 0-3,” Hannibal quarterback Courtland Watson said. “We just came out here and executed well.”
It’s even better when nearly everyone gets involved.
Hannibal posted a season high in scoring and racked up more than 500 yards of total offense in a 69-20 thrashing of Fulton in North Central Missouri Conference play at Porter Stadium.
Seven of the nine touchdowns Hannibal scored were by different players.
“I think it’s just awesome to see how many kids we got in the game,” Hannibal coach Quentin Hamner said. “Seeing the kids having fun was really important to us.
“We didn’t feel very comfortable with the score at halftime, so it was important to come out and have a good showing in the second half.”
The Pirates (3-3, 3-0 NCMC) left no doubt.
After forcing Fulton to punt on its first series of the third quarter, Hannibal drove 49 yards in four plays as running back Damien French scored on a 36-yard run to make it 49-12 and trigger the running clock with 9:01 remaining in the quarter.
That clock didn’t last long as Fulton responded with a two-play, 68-yard touchdown drive that made it 49-20. Hannibal, however, responded with a six-play, 56-yard drive as Watson scored from 35 yards out.
Hannibal’s AJ Thomas scored on a 6-yard run early in the fourth quarter, and quarterback Hunter Parker scored on a 37-yard run on the final play of the game.
Watson threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Preston Bennett in the first half, and Drake Dudley also returned a kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown.
Running back Markahl Humphrey scored on a 3-yard run that gave Hannibal a 42-12 halftime lead.
“At the beginning of the game we said we wanted to get the second string guys in,” Watson said. “We haven’t really done that yet this season because we came out slow in the second half.
“We didn’t do that tonight.”
It helped Hannibal move a step closer to the NCMC title.
“It’s great for them to get touchdowns,” Watson said. “I got to play as a freshman, and it’s just great for them to score as freshmen.”
French led all rushers with 224 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries, while Watson ran for 91 yards and two touchdowns on eight attempts.
Watson completed 8 of 10 passes for 113 yards along with the touchdown. Bennett caught four passes for 44 yards.
Fulton (1-5, 1-4) churned 304 total yards of offense, but half of those came on passing touchdowns of 91 yards and 61 yards in the first half.
Quarterback Courtland Simmons threw for 172 yards.