The Mexico Bulldogs football team will face its second state-ranked opponent in three weeks Friday night on the road against NCMC conference foe Hannibal. Game time is 7:00 pm.
The Pirates are ranked No. 10 in the state in Class 4 in the latest statewide sportswriters poll and are reigning conference champions with a perfect 6-0 NCMC record last year.
Hannibal is a traditional NCMC power year in and year out and has only lost one conference game since 2007. The Pirates are coached by Mark St. Clair, in his 17th season and that stability in the coaching staff along with the size of the squad help contribute to the program's continued success.
"Numbers make a huge difference because it creates competition and they have numbers every year," said Mexico Head Coach Ty Harrison. "Also their strong winning tradition keeps kids excited about playing."
Mexico picked up its first win last week with a 14-7 victory over Marshall while Hannibal is 2-1 on the season with a 17-6 loss in Week One to Quincy Notre Dame but back to back wins against Battle High School and Boonville in the last two games.
Fans can expect to see a strong ground attack from Hannibal led by senior running back Mitchell Nichols who rushed for 1191 yards and 16 TDs as a junior and a senior-dominated offensive line.
"They run a two back power running game with some option," Harrison said. "They try to establish the run like we do however we pass the ball quite a bit more."
Through the first three weeks of the season Mexico has shown the ability to move the ball but haven't always been able to convert that into touchdowns and that will be important for them against Hannibal.
"Some keys for us will be scoring in the red zone and being able to match up with them up front," Harrison said. "We have to keep looking for ways to improve our game and that is what we are focusing on this week."
Playing a tough schedule can be daunting at times but will benefit the Bulldogs in the long run according to Harrison.
"It makes you better to play tough competition. We need to have the mindset that we can compete no matter who we are lined up against."