Mexico football faced a team desperate for a victory Friday night at Hannibal, a perennial contender in the North Central Missouri Conference off to an 0-3 start this season.
That was certainly the case, as Hannibal (1-3, 1-0) put 39 points on the board in the first half en route to a 46-14 rout.
Mexico (1-3, 0-2) lost despite outgaining the Pirates overall.
“Just disappointed in that first half," Mexico head coach Steve Haag said after the defeat. "I don’t think they’re 32 points better than us and I don’t think we played our best football.
"I wish we would've 'cause I would've liked to have had a closer, competitive game.”
Isaiah Reams rushed for 104 yards on 10 attempts in the losing effort, while Mexico quarterback Ty Prince passed for 108 yards and a touchdown to Keyon Mahaney. Dante Billups also ran for a touchdown to round out the Bulldogs’ scoring.
Damien French rattled off scoring runs of 20 and 13 yards, respectively, to spot Hannibal a 12-0 lead in the first quarter.
Three additional touchdowns by the hosts in the second quarter opened up a 32-0 deficit for the Bulldogs.
"We just didn’t seem to get after it like we had in the past three weeks," Haag said. "Offensively, we’ve played pretty well, but we just didn’t get at them physically at first tonight. I think we get ourselves in this mindset that it should be easy, and it’s not.
"Defensively, they do a good job with a big back and getting downhill, hitting some short passing routes and running after the catch, and we just didn’t do a good job tackling."
Prince stopped the bleeding by completing a nine-yard scoring strike to Mahaney to put Mexico on the board with 4 minutes, 46 seconds left in the first half.
The play capped an eight-play, 64-yard drive for the Bulldogs.
"If we give Ty time, he can make good throws," Haag said. "They were playing man and isolated Keyon, so Ty threw it up and Keyon made a good play going up and getting the ball."
But Hannibal responded again before the break, using a five-yard touchdown pass from Courtland Watson to Hunter Parker with three seconds on the clock to take a 39-7 lead into the intermission.
Billups punched in a three-yard rushing touchdown for Mexico in the third quarter before French recorded his third score for Hannibal two minutes later, establishing the final margin.
Mexico moved the chains for 16 first downs on the night, only one fewer than Hannibal, and compiled 342 yards of total offense to the Pirates’ 312. The Bulldogs, however, struggled to finish their drives in the end zone.
Keeley DiBlasi and Michael White led Mexico with six tackles a piece, while Jakob Bradley, Shannon Dorsey and Quinton Campbell each posted a tackle for loss. White also recovered a fumble.
Mexico is scheduled to host Clinton (0-4) for homecoming next Friday.
"We’ve got to be uncomfortable with making mistakes and want to fix them," Haag said. "... I believe we have a good football team but I worry that sometimes they think it’s OK, and it’s not. If you’re not uncomfortable with making mistakes and that you want to fix them, that’s going to be our biggest issue.
"But if you’re uncomfortable with that and want to fix them, then I think we can get some things done.”