Sophomore receiver Jatavius Stewart broke a single-game school record for receptions and the defense got an infusion of confidence as the 14th-ranked Hutchinson Community College football team returned to Gowans Stadium after two weeks away and defeated the Dodge City Conquistadors 45-10 on Saturday night to remain perfect in Jayhawk Conference play.
Stewart had 12 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown to lead a Blue Dragons offense that sputtered at times and still gained 556 yards of total offense. Stewart eclipsed the old record of 11 set by Roger Frazier, who set his mark in 2005 against Dodge City.
Stewart’s record-breaking 12th catch was his only touchdown of the night, a 28-yard pitch-and-catch from Barnes where he showed several moves before getting to the goal line. His third 100-yard game of the season helped Stewart jump from sixth to third on the HCC career receiving yards chart with 1,164 yards.
While Stewart and the offense eventually got rolling, the Blue Dragon defense played its best game of the season, holding Dodge City to 246 total yards and 10 points, the lowest totals allowed by the Blue Dragons in 2012.
Linebacker Kenny Flowers led the defensive chart with 12 total tackles. Linebacker Aaron Jackson had nine tackles and a key forced fumble that led to a defensive touchdown. That touchdown was scored by freshman cornerback Terell Hannah, who had two fumble recoveries against Dodge City.
HCC held Dodge City (0-4, 0-3 Jayhawk West) to 199 passing yards and 47 net rushing yards. The Blue Dragon defense had a season-high 14 tackles for loss and two quarterback sacks (Carnell Simon and Ben Kimbrough).
Offensively, the Blue Dragons (3-1, 3-0) were held scoreless in a quarter (the first quarter) and they committed their first two turnovers of the season. Still, HCC rolled up 33 first downs, 206 rushing yards and 305 passing yards to surpass the 500-yard mark for the third time in four games.
Coming off his record-setting performance against Garden City one week ago, sophomore running back Terrell Lane went over the 100-yard rushing mark for the fourth-straight week, going for 123 yards on 25 carries and one touchdown. Off the bench, Orange Mooney had 13 carries for 78 yards.
Barnes completed 32 of 54 passes for 350 yards and four touchdowns with his first interception of the season.
Sophomore Antonio Johnson had another big game with nine catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore Miguel Johns had six catches for 96 yards and one touchdown.
Sophomore kicker Michael Mesh continued his strong start to the season by knocking through field goals of 25 and 38 yards to make it 7 of 7 on field goals this season. He jumped up two spots to No. 5 on the HCC career scoring list with 125 points.
Dodge City opened the scoring on its first drive, a 17-play, 69-mark march that culminated with an Austin Avelar 27-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 5:35 to play. The Blue Dragons had two other first-quarter drives stopped by turnovers and trailed 3-0 after one period.
A Stewart 36-yard punt return set HCC up on a short field late in the first quarter. The Dragons marched 33 yards in six plays and Lane’s 1-yard rumble into the end zone gave HCC the lead, but only 6-3 after the extra-point try was blocked because of a high snap. Mesh’s 25-yard field goal with 2:33 to go in the second quarter gave HCC a 9-3 lead with 2:33 to play.
The Blue Dragon defense changed momentum for good late in the first half. Conquistador running back Larry Walls was stripped of the ball by Jackson and Hannah picked up the loose ball and scored from 29 yards out for a 15-3 HCC advantage at halftime.
Hutchinson scored on its first two possessions of the third quarter – Barnes TD passes of 13 yards to Johnson and 25 yards to Johns. In between, Dodge City struck for its only big play of the game, a 61-yard TD catch by Brian Reed. HCC led 28-10 after three quarters.
Five seconds into the fourth quarter, HCC topped a 13-play, 93-yard march with Johnson’s 10-yard TD strike from Barnes. Mesh added a 38-yard field goal with 8:21 to go and Stewart’s 28-yard touchdown pass with 4:27 to play rounded out a second half in which Hutchinson outscored Dodge City 30-7, rolling up 335 yards total offense in the final two quarters.
The Blue Dragons will be off this Saturday before returning to action on Saturday, Sept. 29 in a 1 p.m. kickoff at Highland.
GAME NOTES – The Blue Dragons match a series high with Dodge City with a fifth-straight victory. This is the third time in the series HCC has won five-straight vs. the Conquistadors. … HCC is now 44-34-4 all-time vs. Dodge City. … Stewart now has 74 career receptions, which ranks No. 4 on the career list. … Terell Hannah has five total turnovers – three interceptions and two fumbles.
(HCC Sports Information