FULTON — The Southern Hills Storm overpowered the Hannibal varsity football team, as the Warriors lost 28-6 in a neutral site matchup at G. Ray Bodley High School on Friday.
The Warriors were focused on the run game, highlighted by Drew Harris and Zach Shortslef on the ground. John Ruggio and Owen Skiff also added in a couple carries of their own.
Hannibal coach Mike Kitts said the team has a history of being a predominantly running squad and generally focuses on his own team rather than what defense it will be facing.
“We’re not necessarily concerned with what scheme we’re going to face,” he said. “We’ve got something in store for most games.”
Hannibal had a limited amount of passing attempts, but Kitts said the rain that got heavier in the second half didn’t come into play when choosing what play to run. The Warriors completed about half of their passing attempts.
“Both teams are playing in the rain,” he said. “It’s no excuse.”
Harris had the lone touchdown for the Warriors, a four-yard run with 28.2 seconds left in the second quarter, looking to send Hannibal with some momentum into the second half. By halftime, Southern Hills had a 14-6 advantage.
Kitts said the Warriors were right where they wanted to be, being down by only a possession going into halftime.
“The kids came out (of halftime), got that stop and made a couple plays on offense and then got a penalty that put us behind the sticks,” he said. “Anytime you’re making penalties, turning the ball over, getting behind the sticks, it’s hard to recover from that.”
Hannibal’s defense let up three touchdowns to Southern Hills. The first touchdown, with a minute left in the first quarter, came off an 8-yard run from the Storm. Nicholas Lee from Southern Hills ran in a touchdown of his own with 11:53 left in the fourth quarter.
The Storm added insult to injury with 47.6 seconds to go in the fourth quarter following a long run.
The fourth came off a lost fumble in the middle of the second quarter near the Warriors’ goal line. Kitts said his team needs to be better at stopping the run game.
“We’ve got to make teams come out and throw the ball,” he said. “If you can’t stop the run, it’s going to be tough to keep points off the board.”
A big part of the loss for Hannibal was the team’s body language, according to Kitts, and said the team needs to focus on playing every snap and fixing mistakes in-game. The Warriors only have 19 players listed on the roster, resulting in a lot of players going in for almost every snap.
“Our body language was not good tonight,” Kitts said. “A football game is 48 minutes. If you make a bad play, you come back the next play and make a better play.”
Though Kitts said it had no affect on the game, the Warriors hosted Southern Hills at G. Ray Bodley high school in Fulton since the Warriors’ facility is getting an upgrade at Hannibal High School.
For the rest of the season, the Warriors’ home games will be played in Hannibal, but will not play under home field lights until Sept. 27 against Skaneateles.
Hannibal (0-1) will now prepare for its first road game next Friday at Moravia.