For the first time in their respective histories, the Hutchinson Community College and Lackawanna College football teams will meet on Saturday in the third annual Salt City Bowl at Gowans Stadium.
The 14th-ranked Blue Dragons play in a bowl game for the third-straight season and for the 16th time in team history. The Dragons look for a program-best fourth-straight bowl victory.
Lackawanna, ranked No. 19, competes in a bowl game for the ninth time.
HCC dropped a 40-21 decision to No. 3 Butler in the Region VI championship game on Nov. 13 to finish 8-3. Lackawanna defeated Georgia Military 44-24 on Nov. 13 to close out a 7-3 regular season.
HCC’s No. 2 nationally scoring offense (48.3 ppg), will face Lackawanna’s NJCAA fourth-ranked defense. The Falcons allow 14.6 points and 197.4 yards per game.
Hutchinson: Rion Rhoades is in his fifth season with the Blue Dragons. He is 34-20 at HCC and 41-25 overall in his sixth season as a collegiate head coach.
Lackawanna: Mark Duda is in his 17th season with the Falcons. He is 128-63 at Lackawanna.
TV: Cox Kansas 22 will broadcast the game statewide beginning at 1 p.m. with Mark Ewing (play-by-play), Rich Baldinger (analysis) and Mark Davidson (sidelines) calling the action.
Radio: Blue Dragon flagship station KHUT-FM (102.9) and KWBW-AM (1450) will have the game live with Rusty Hilst (play-by-play), Rob Dreher (analysis) and Glen Grunwald (sidelines) calling the action at 12:50 p.m.
Internet: Because of contracts with Cox 22, the game will not be videostreamed. There will be an audio-only stream on the Blue Dragon Sports Network at 12:50 p.m.
Live Stats: Real-time game statistics will be available at kickoff on www.bluedragonsports.com.
Blue Dragons’ Bowl History
The third annual Salt City Bowl will be the Blue Dragons’ 16th bowl appearance in the program’s 80-year history.
The Blue Dragons are 7-6-2 in bowl games. The Salt City Bowl is the eighth different bowl the Blue Dragons have participated in.
Last season, HCC defeated Eastern Arizona 42-21 Two years ago, the Dragons rallied to defeat New Mexico Military 22-14.
Before 2009, the last bowl game HCC played in was the 2004 Heart of Texas Bowl against No. 14 Tyler Junior College. Kicker Kevin Coleman kicked five field goals, including a school-record 47-yarder to lead the Blue Dragons to a 15-10 victory over the Apaches.
The Salt City Bowl will be the fifth time that Hutchinson has played a bowl game on its home turf. In addition to last season, Hutchinson played in the 1947 and 1949 Salt Bowl. This will be the ninth bowl that Hutchinson has played within the borders of Kansas. HCC has played two bowls in Hutchinson, the 1969 and 1970 Sterling Silver Bowls in Sterling, Kan., and the 1948 and 1949 Wheat Bowls in Wichita.
This will be the third meeting between HCC and a Northeast Conference team in a bowl game. In 1969, the Dragons defeated Nassau 32-7 in the Sterling Silver Bowl. One year later in the Sterling Silver Bowl, the Dragons tied Dover College, 8-8.
HCC head coach Rion Rhoades played on the 1993 and 1994 Blue Dragon bowl-eligible teams that qualified for the Valley of the Sun Bowl.
Previewing The Blue Dragons
The 2011 Blue Dragon offense has set numerous team and individual records and continues to rank No. 2 in the nation in scoring offense after leading the NJCAA for most of the season.
The Blue Dragons, which broke 50 points six times this season and set an NJCAA modern-day record 90 points, scored a team-record 531 points and averaged 48.3 points per game.
For the season, HCC is averaging 239.0 rushing yards per game (9th in the NJCAA), 210.5 passing yards per game (21th in the NJCAA) and 449.5 yards of total offense per game (12th in the NJCAA).
Sophomore quarterback Elliott Alford continues his march up the Blue Dragon statistical charts. Alford is fifth in the nation in passing accuracy at 64.8 percent (160 of 247) for 2,220 yards – the third-most yards in a single season – with school-record 27 touchdown passes and six interceptions. Alford has a single-season record of 2,571 yards of total offense.
Already holding or sharing 10 team records, sophomore All-American receiver/returner Cordarrelle Patterson is poised to grab two more records in his final game of his career. Patterson, has a team-high 53 receptions for 806 yards and 12 receiving touchdowns. He needs 31 receiving yards to surpass Lonnie Crittenden as the career receiving yards leader. He needs two receptions to become the HCC single-season receptions leader. Patterson has accounted for 1,686 all-purpose yards (369 rushing, 806 receiving, 511 on kickoff returns) and 21 touchdowns.
Freshmen receiver Jatavious Stewart has also had a big season. Stewart’s 42 receptions and 659 receiving yards are the eighth- and ninth-best seasons by a receiver in those two categories. Stewart has 10 touchdowns and has 72 total points (tied for seventh on the single-season list). He also has 1,293 all-purpose yards.
Freshman receiver Miguel Johns has 33 receptions for 497 yards and three scores.
Redshirt freshman Deveon Dinwiddie is HCC's leading rusher. Dinwiddie has 807 yards and a 5.8 yard per carry average and 11 rushing touchdowns. Freshman Terrell Lane has 377 yards and seven TDs. Sophomore Derek Campbell has 294 yards and three TDs, Alford has 351 rushing yards and six scores.
HCC has 39 rushing touchdowns in 11 games.
Defensively, sophomore safety Duane Sims leads the Blue Dragons with 92 tackles. Linebacker Tim Edmond is second with 84 tackles and linebacker Timmy Chadd has 67 tackles.
HCC is allowing 21.0 points, 174.1 rushing yards, 184.7 passing yards and 358.8 total yards per game. The Blue Dragons have forced 22 turnovers. Sophomore Spencer Vanderbogart and freshman Khambrel Garland are tied with a team-high three interceptions. Freshman Beau Bell has a team-high five quarterback sacks.
On special teams, punter Kody Cook leads the Jayhawk Conference at 40.5 yards per punt. Kicker Michael Mesh is 66 of 72 on extra points and 3 of 6 on field goals. Patterson continues to lead the Jayhawk in kickoff returns at 51.1 yards per return with three touchdowns. Stewart is first in punt returns at 16.4 yards per return with one touchdown.
The Falcons come into the Salt City Bowl pretty good offensively, but are getting it done defensively with the fourth-ranked defense in the NJCAA.
Lackawanna is allowing only 14.6 points per game and just 197.4 total yards per game. The Falcons are stingy against the run, allowing just 87.0 yards per game (7th in the NJCAA) and 110.4 passing yards (5th in NJCAA).
Linebacker Marcus Spearman leads the Falcons with 67 total tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss and nine quarterback sacks. Defensive back Antonio Owah has 47 tackles. Defensive lineman Bernardo Nunez has 43 tackles and a team-high 11 quarterback sacks.
Lackawanna has forced 21 takeaways and has produced 42 quarterback sacks.
The Falcons are averaging 37,0 points and 384.8 total yards offensively. Lackawanna ranks fifth in the NJCAA in rushing offense at 232.5 yards per game. The Falcons average 152.3 passing yards per game.
Lackawanna has a deep backfield led by running back Antonio Brown, who has a team-high 692 yards (7.4 yards per carry) and six touchdowns. Lorenzo Talliaferro has 379 yards and three touchdowns, Harry Williams has 298 yards and two TDs, quarterback Devonta Farrell has 276 yards and five touchdowns.
Farrell has completed 73 of 154 passes for 1,303 yards with 17 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Farrell spreads the wealth around with five receivers between 11 and 13 receptions. Marcus Snipes has 13 receptions for a team-high 340 yards and five touchdowns. Thomas Burk has 13 catches for 274 yards and two scores.
Talliaferro is LC’s top kick returner with a 29.7 yard per return average and one touchdown.
The Falcons have used two place kickers. Troy Krepich is 6 of 7 on field goals with a long of 40 yards. He is also 30 of 333 on extra points. Billy Gillette is 4 of 4 on field goals and 10 of 14 on extra points. Both kickers also punt. Krepich averaged 34.9 yards per punt and Gillette averages 27.3 yards per punt.
Series History vs. Lackawanna
This will be the first meeting between Hutchinson and Lackawanna College.