HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) -- It's Helias week at Hannibal and that means the level of anticipation leading into Friday's game has been heightened exponentially.
The Crusaders beat the Pirates twice last season including the district championship which ended Hannibal's season.
Head coach Mark St. Clair says the annual affair always seems to bring out the best in both teams.
"I think over the years either us or Helias has been in the quarterfinals, or better, just about every year, and sometimes it's been both of us," St. Clair noted.
"This is a great rivalry and a great game. Every year we look forward to this and I'm sure they do too. They're 6-2 and we're 6-2, and it should be a good game."
Hannibal senior Mitch Nichols explains the team's mentality as the biggest game of the regular season nears.
"Do what we're coached and slow them down a little bit on offense, and then we'll do what we do on offense," Nichols said. "Hopefully we can pull it out."
The Pirate defense is sure to have their hands full trying to maintain Crusader quarterback Wyatt Porter who's thrown for more than 1,300 yards and 19 touchdowns this season.
"He just does a lot of things," St. Clair said of Porter.
"He runs their football team and he knows what they want to do. Last year we got to him a little bit but we've got to find a way to slow him down."
Senior Andy Colborn is confident the Pirates will be ready.
"These are the game you look forward to, these are the games you love, and these are the games you're not sure how they're going to end up," Colborn indicated.
"You know you're going to have that time where you get hit in the gut, and you just got to get back up and get after it."
Hannibal and No. 3 Helias match wits on Friday night at 7 p.m. at Porter Stadium.
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