HANNIBAL — Kadin Morgan thought scoring one touchdown was unlikely as a starting linebacker.
Being responsible for three touchdowns in a game was nearly fantasy to him.
“I always dreamed of that,” Morgan said with a smirk. “I just didn't think it was possible.”
That dream became reality Friday night.
The senior for the Hannibal football team returned an interception for a touchdown, ran for a touchdown and threw a touchdown pass all in the first half as the Pirates rolled past Marshall 63-15 at Porter Stadium to clinch the North Central Missouri Conference title outright.
“He plays outside linebacker for us, so it's not like he's a corner or a safety,” Hannibal coach Quentin Hamner said. “That's pretty cool on his part.”
Along with being responsible for three touchdowns, Morgan tied the school record with three interceptions in the game.
He shrugged at the notion of tying a school mark. Instead, he was more focused on winning another conference championship.
“Coach just puts me where I need to be,” Morgan said. “I just made the plays. But this just shows we can overcome anything.
“We started out pretty bad, but we overcame a lot of obstacles and we're starting to become the team we're supposed to be.”
That's a team that's capable of putting the game away in the first quarter.
Hannibal (5-3, 5-0 NCMC) scored two touchdowns in the first three minutes of the game when running back Damien French scored on a 28-yard run, and Morgan returned an interception 35 yards for a score to make it 14-0. After Marshall went three-and-out on the ensuing drive, Hannibal drove 72 yards in seven plays when quarterback Courtland Watson threw a 29-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Kaiser Greenwell to make it 22-0 with 5 minutes, 3 seconds left in the opening quarter.
The Owls (2-6, 2-2) went three-and-out again, and Hannibal needed just three plays before Morgan punched it in from a yard out to make it 28-0 with 2:28.
Morgan's touchdown pass came on the first series of the second quarter when he threw a 4-yard pass to Dante Reading — Hannibal's starting nose tackle — to make it 35-0 with 10:15 until halftime.
The pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage, but Reading still managed to haul it in.
“I kind of had to use my helmet to catch it,” Reading said. “It was just a good night for us. The offense has been moving the ball really well, and Courtland and our receivers are clicking.”
The defense helped the offense with short fields as the Pirates started drives inside the 50-yard line six times.
“We knew we had to put pressure on the quarterback,” Reading said. “They didn't get a lot of yards on us.”
Hannibal led 56-8 at halftime and played the entire second half with a running clock.
The Pirates churned out 432 yards of offense. Watson ran for a team-high 102 yards and a touchdown on nine attempts. He also completed 12 of 15 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown.
French had two touchdown runs, while Hunter Parker also scored a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Marshall had 268 yards of offense, and the big scoring play was a 68-yard pass from Ben Haug to Malik Evans with 5:32 left until halftime.