BLUE DRAGON FOOTBALL
No. 14 Hutchinson (1-1, 1-0) at No. 19 Garden City (2-0, 1-0)
When: Saturday, September 8, 2012
At: Memorial Stadium, Garden City
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Radio: KHUT-FM (102.9); KWBW-AM (1450), 6:50 p.m.
Live Video and Audio: Blue Dragon Sports Network
Live Stats: Blue Dragon Sports Network
Follow the game on Twitter
When the 2012 football schedule was released last April, the Hutchinson Community College coaching staff knew the first three weeks of the season were going to be particularly tough.
Now 1-1 (1-0 Jayhawk Conference) through the first two games of that stretch, the Blue Dragons head to Western Kansas on Saturday to play a third-consecutive ranked opponent in the Garden City Broncbusters (2-0, 1-0) in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Memorial Stadium.
Hutchinson looks to regroup after traveling to Texas last Saturday and getting defeated by No. 12 Navarro College 54-34.
The Blue Dragon defense will look to re-establish itself after a tough outing last week against Navarro. The Bulldogs rushed for 455 yards and amassed 617 total yards. The Blue Dragons had trouble getting off the field at Navarro as the Bulldogs converted 11 of 17 third-down conversions.
Picked to finish fifth in the preseason poll, Garden City is off to a 2-0 start after winning a shootout, 56-49 in the season opener at Independence. Last week, the Broncbusters ran their KJCCC-SWJCFC Challenge record to a Jayhawk-best 6-1 with a 24-19 victory over Cisco College.
HCC slipped four spots to No. 14 in the NJCAA football poll, while Garden City jumped into the poll for the first time this season at No. 19.
Hutchinson head coach Rion Rhoades will make his second attempt to moved alone into third place on the Blue Dragon coaching list. He is currently tied with Bill Goldsmith with 36 victories.
The Blue Dragons have won four-straight games against Garden City, outscoring the Broncbusters 153-29 during that streak. The longest winning streak the Dragons have had against the Busters is six from 1961 to 1966.
This game is key for both teams on Saturday. The top four teams in the KJCCC play each other this week. In addition to HCC at Garden, Butler and Fort Scott, both 1-0 in the league, meet in El Dorado.
Hutchinson: Rion Rhoades is in his sixth season with the Blue Dragons. His HCC record is 36-21 in his sixth season at Hutchinson and is 43-26 in seven overall seasons. With one more victory, Rhoades will move past Bill Goldsmith for third on the HCC coaching list.
Garden City: Jeff Tatum is in his second season with the Broncbusters. Tatum is 4-7 at Garden City, going 2-7 in his first season in 2011. Tatum has been a coordinator at two schools that have won NJCAA national championships - Georgia Military and Mississippi Delta.
About the Blue Dragons
Offense: Coming off a 600-plus yard performance against Coffeyville in Week 1, the Blue Dragons had 367 yards against a fast Navarro defense last week.
But the Blue Dragons would like to establish a more efficient running game. After four-straight seasons of averaging better than 200 yards per game on the ground, the 2012 Blue Dragons are averaging 119.0 yards per game, which ranks fifth in the Jayhawk Conference.
Sophomore running back Terrell Lane had his second-straight 100-yard rushing game, which ranks third in the Jayhawk Conference at 109.0 yards per game.
Quarterback Luke Barnes had a solid game at Navarro and currently ranks No. 1 in the Jayhawk Conference in passing and touchdown passes at 352.5 yards per game and seven TD passes. Barnes currently ranks No. 2 in the NJCAA.
Three Blue Dragon receivers rank in the Top 16 in the NJCAA. Sophomore Miguel Johns has 12 catches for 205 yards - his 102.5 yard-per-game average is seventh in the nation and leads the Jayhawk Conference. Antonio Johnson has 15 matches for 154 yards (14th in NJCAA) and Jatavius Stewart is 16th with 10 catches and 154 receiving yards. Johnson and Stewart rank fifth and seventh, respectively, in the league.
HCC ranks first in the KJCCC in total offense (491.5 ypg) and is second in scoring (46.0 ppg). Hutch ranks seventh in the NJCAA in total offense and 12th in scoring.
Defense: When Navarro hung 54 points on the Blue Dragons last week, it was the first time HCC had surrendered that many points since 1995, a total of 66 games). It was also in 2005 when the Dragon defense relinquished more than 400 rushing yards.
So the 2012 defense would like to re-establish itself as the group that came into the season with plenty of potential.
So far, the Blue Dragons are allowing 40.0 points, 246 rushing yards, 205.0 passing yards and 451 total yards per game through the first two performances of 2012.
Linebackers continue to pace the HCC defense. Devondre Campbell had a huge game against Navarro and leads the Dragons with 25 total tackles. Kenny Flowers has 16 tackles and a 50-yard fumble return for a touchdown last week. Aaron Jackson had 14 tackles.
In his first game of the season, safety Dominique Terrell had 10 tackles. Nose guard Ben Bradley leads the defensive linemen with eight tackles.
HCC has four takeaways this season, but has only one quarterback sack and only four tackles for loss through two games.
Special Teams: Michael Mesh is off to a sizzling start to his sophomore season. In two games, Mesh has totaled 26 points to move into eighth place on the HCC career scoring list. He is a perfect 11 of 11 on extra points and is 5 of 5 on field goals, knocking through a career-long 43-yarder last week against Navarro.
Mesh has already surpassed his field goal total of last season and is 9 of 12 in his career.
Luke Barnes was the punter in Week 1. Terrell Lane did the punting chores last week and broke a 43-year-old team record. Lane averaged 48.6 yards per punt on six punts last week. That broke Jack Morris’ single-game record set in 1969.
Three different Blue Dragons are averaging better than 20 yards per kickoff return. Jatavius Stewart leads at 27.3 yards per return with a long of 62 yards. Antonio Johnson is averaging 21.0 yards per return and Kody Cook is averaging 20.3 yards per return.
About the Broncbusters
Offense: Last season, putting points on the board was a tough task for the Garden City Broncbusters. Through two games, the Busters are averaging 37 points per game. Garden City is third in total offense at 452 yards per game, second in the KJCCC in rushing at 254 yards per game and fifth in passing at 198 yards per game.
Garden City’s offense is triggered by Georgia transfer Nick Marshall, who played defensive back for the Bulldogs last season. As the Buster signal caller, Marshall is a run-pass threat, much like Navarro’s Stump Godfrey. He has completed 26 of 51 passes for 396 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Marshall ranks fifth in the KJCCC in rushing with 226 yards and four touchdowns.
Marshall is second in the Jayhawk in total offense behind Hutchinson’s Luke Barnes with 311 yards per game.
Jamal Tyler is second in the league in rushing. He has 245 yards and a 5.8-yard-per-carry average with four touchdowns. Tyler was named the Jayhawk Conference Offensive Player of the Week last week after rushing for 121 yards in the win over Cisco.
Raul Silva is Garden City’s leading receiver and is a big-play threat. He is averaging a league-best 21.0 yards per reception on seven catches for 149 yards and one touchdown.
Defense: Garden City’s defense made a big improvement from Week 1 to Week 2. After giving up 49 points to Independence on opening weekend, the Busters gave up 19 to Cisco last week.
For the season, the Busters are allowing 34.0 points, 165.0 rushing yards, 221.5 passing yards and 386.5 total yards per game.
Deilouise Jackson leads Garden City through two games with 15 tackles, one fumble recovery and one pass broken up. Kitray Solomon has 14 tackles, including three tackles for loss and one quarterback sack.
Garden City has only one takeaway, two quarterback sacks and four total tackles for loss.
Special Teams: The Busters are splitting kicking duties through two games. Carlos Chavez is 6 of 6 on extra points and has booted the only field goal the team has tried in 2012, coming from 28 yards. Tyler Peterson is 5 of 5 on extra points.
Rilee Spresser is among the league leaders, averaging 40.5 yards per punt on 11 attempts. He has placed four punts inside the 20 this season.
The Busters are very strong in the return game. Nike Daniel is averaging 39.3 yards per return on six kickoff returns. He has a long of 42 this season. Tyreek Hill is averaging 21.8 per return with a long of 41 and Jamal Tyler is averaging 23.0 per return. As a team, Garden City is averaging 30.7 yards per kickoff return.
Hill is averaging 23.7 yards per punt return with a long of 47 yards.
This is the 71st meeting all-time between Hutchinson and Garden City. The Broncbusters lead the series 37-33.
Hutchinson leads the series in games played at Gowans Stadium 16-15. Garden City leads in games played at Memorial Stadium in Garden City 22-17. The Busters lead HCC in meetings in the Region VI playoffs 5-1. The teams have not met in the playoff since 2001.
(HCC Sports Information