Even though their won-loss record is perfect, the road that has brought the Hannibal Pirates to the verge of winning their first Class 4 football state championship has been anything but sunshine and rainbows.

In a TalkBack conversation on KHMO Tuesday, Pirates' Head Coach Jeff Gschwender addressed the unsettled nature of the Hannibal football program the last couple of seasons.

"We dealt with a lot of adversity over the last couple of years and that's really a testament to how strong-minded our kids are," Gschwender said. "Our seniors have had three different head coaches in four years of football. Just the ability to lock into different philosophies of what they're teaching them (shows that) adversity really doesn't affect them a whole heck of a lot over the last couple of years."

"We didn't play our best football the last two games, a lot of adversity, and they stayed grounded and continued to play until the last snap. When you got kids that will do that, they're gonna be successful. Doesn't matter whether it's in football, whether it's in life, whatever it is"

Gschwender acknowledges the state title game Friday against Smithville will be Hannibal's toughest test of all. He describes the Warriors as, "a very well-coached team. They're not extremely flashy. They're more just methodical, they're gonna put together long drives and they have a very stingy defense."

You can hear our full conversation with Hannibal Coach Jeff Gschwender here:

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