As our gridiron previews roll on our first venture into the show me state is in America’s hometown with the Hannibal Pirates.
And for Qeuntin Hamner today was another first after taking over as the Pirates head coach after more than two decades of the legenadary Mark St. Clair.
The former Keokuk head coach dove head first in today and he inherits a talented squad from St. Clair’s final season.
Overall the Pirates return 16 starters, 9 on defense and and 7 on offense, from a 9-4 squad that won a district title.
For the Pirates while the changing of the guard from the steady hand of St. Clair to Hamner is a big transition, Hamner realizes no matter who the coach is, somethings in Pirate country just don’t change.
Hamner said that, “The number one thing is expectations here.
That’s one of the reasons why I took the job is because they have high expectations.
Everybody from our admin to our coaches, they want to win, but they want to win the right way.
So I think what Coach St. Clair has done and what we can transition to is some of the same core values. I’m not going to be him, but I can sure take a lot of things they’ve built from the past.”
Speaking of the past, Hannibal loses more than a few weapons from 2018 including wide receiver Will Whitaker, Dezi Jones and QB Gabe Worthington, but some tinkering with the offense has the Pirates convinced they’ll be taking a step up.
Senior linebacker Kadin Morgan said, “Going to be a lot more versatile.
We’re going to be in the air a little more. We’ve got a lot of weapons from last year.
Mainly from the defensive side, but our offense is still going to be same as always, it’s Hannibal Pirates.
Last year we were a lot more downhill running, smash mouth football. If we needed three yards we were going to get four up the gut.
This year we’re a little spread out, a little more spread out and we’ve got a lot more deep plays going.”