With only two weeks left in the 2012 regular season, the Hutchinson Community College football team looks to put itself in position for a chance to win the Jayhawk Conference title. In order to do that, the Blue Dragons face a tough road test on Saturday.
The 12th-ranked Blue Dragons travel to Fort Scott in a 1 p.m. kickoff at Frary Field. The game will be broadcast on the Blue Dragon Sports Network beginning at 12:50 p.m.
Hutchinson and No. 2 Butler head into the weekend tied for first place in the Jayhawk conference. The Grizzlies play host to Coffeyville on Saturday before coming to Gowans Stadium next weekend for a much-anticipated showdown with the Blue Dragons.
But before HCC can even think about Butler, the Blue Dragons (6-1, 5-0 Jayhawk Conference) must take care of business against a Fort Scott team that is very capable in its own right.
Hutchinson comes off a 75-0 defeat of Independence last Saturday. The Blue Dragons rolled up more than 700 yards for the third time this season. Running back Terrell Lane became the 16th HCC running back in history to rush for more than 1,000 yards and the defense continued to improve, shutting out the Pirates on only 153 total yards.
Fort Scott (3-4, 3-3) had last week off to prepare for the Blue Dragons. Two weeks ago, the Greyhounds rolled past Independence 54-17 on October 6. Fort Scott has won 2 of 3 after a 1-3 start against a rugged schedule.
Hutch’s NJCAA-leading passing offense will get a key test on Saturday. The Dragons will face the Jayhawk Conference’s No. 2 pass defense. The Greyhounds are allowing only 186 yards through the air and opposing quarterbacks are completing only 39.7 of their passes. The Greyhounds have 21 quarterback sacks and seven interceptions.
Hutchinson quarterback Luke Barnes, however, leads the nation in passing yardage with 2,375 yards with 30 touchdowns passes and a completion percentage of 65.3%.
Saturday’s game will feature two of the nation’s top three running backs in HCC’s Lane and Fort Scott’s Stanley Hagan. Both have rushed for more than 1,000 yards. Lane leads the nation in rushing at 164.9 yards per game. Hagan is third at 144.3 yards per game.
While the Blue Dragons have a lot riding on Saturday’s game, Fort Scott does as well. The Greyhounds are locked in a battle with Garden City for the fourth and final Region VI playoff spot. Fort Scott is in fifth currently behind Garden City, which owns the tie-breaker.
Hutchinson: Rion Rhoades is in his sixth season with the Blue Dragons. His HCC record is 41-21 in his sixth season at Hutchinson and is 48-26 in seven overall seasons. On Sept. 8 against Garden City, Rhoades surpassed Bill Goldsmith for third place on the HCC coaching wins list.
Fort Scott: Curtis Horton is in his second season as head coach of the Greyhounds. He is 7-8 overall with Fort Scott.
About the Blue Dragons
Offense: The numbers continue to pile up for the Blue Dragon offense in 2012. HCC has the individual passing and rushing leader and the No. 2 total offense and No. 3 scoring offense in the NJCAA.
Freshman Luke Barnes is completing 65.3 percent of his passes (179 of 274) for 2,375 yards. He has thrown 30 touchdown passes to three interceptions. Barnes has completed at least 17 passes to five different receivers this season.
Sophomore Antonio Johnson has team-highs of 49 catches for 621 yards and 10 touchdowns. Sophomore Miguel Johns has 36 catches for 607 yards and five Touchdowns. Sophomore Jatavius Stewart, who has missed 2 of the last 3 games with injuries, has 35 receptions for 567 yards and eight scores.
Lane has posted seven-straight 100-yard games this season and became the 16th Blue Dragon to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Coming off a 178-yard, four-touchdown game last week against Independence, Lane now has 1,154 yards on 169 carries. He is averaging 6.8 yards per carry and has 14 rushing touchdowns.
Freshman Orange Mooney has been solid over the last four games. He is now averaging 45.8 yards per game and 5.8 yards per carry. LaQua Mayes had a career-high 168 yards last week against Independence. He is averaging 42.3 yards per game.
The Blue Dragons are averaging 55.7 points per game, 29.4 first downs, 248.9 rushing yards, 349.7 passing yards and 598.6 total yards per game.
Three Blue Dragons are averaging 100 or more all-purpose yards this season. Lane averages 183.6 yards per game; Stewart averages 167.2, Johns averages 110.8 and Johnson averages 100.4 all-purpose yards per game.
Defense: After three rough outings to start the season, the Blue Dragon defense has shown tremendous improvement in victories over Dodge City, Highland, Air Force Prep and now Independence.
In HCC’s first three games, the defense was stung for averages of 43.0 points, 212.0 rushing yards and 271.7 passing yards per game. Over the last four games, the Blue Dragons have surrendered averages of 7.3 points, 76.5 rushing yards, 125.8 passing yards and 202.3 total yards per game.
Linebacker De’Vondre Campbell has 59 total tackles to lead Hutchinson. Linebacker Kenny Flowers has 56 and linebacker Aaron Jackson had 51 tackles.
Freshman CB Terell Hannah has 34 total tackles and four interceptions, which is tied for eighth in the NJCAA. He also has two fumble recoveries and two passes defended.
Sophomore Carnell Simon has team highs of 3.5 quarterback sacks and 6.5 TFLs.
Special Teams: Michael Mesh continues his sizzling start to his sophomore season. Mesh has totaled 70 points to move into fourth place on the HCC career scoring list. He is 46 of 50 on extra points and is 8 of 9 on field goals, knocking through a career-long 43-yarder against Navarro on Sept. 1.
Mesh has already surpassed his FG total of last season and is 12 of 16 in his career.
Terrell Lane and Luke Barnes are splitting the punting chores. Lane is averaging 43.7 yards per boot and Barnes is averaging 36.9 yards per punt.
Four different Blue Dragons are averaging better than 20 yards per kickoff return. Jatavius Stewart leads at 23.5 yards per return with a long of 62 yards. Kody Cook is averaging 21.8 yards per return and Antonio Johnson is averaging 20.5 yards per return and Johns is averaging 21.7 per return.
Johns has one punt return for a touchdown and leads at 12.9 yards per punt return.
About the Greyhounds
Offense: The Greyhounds are sixth in the Jayhawk Conference in scoring, but still average 23.4 points per game. Fort Scott ranks sixth in total offense (330.0 ypg), sixth in rushing offense (158.3 ypg) and fifth in passing offense (171.7 ypg).
But the Greyhounds to have their own 1,000-yard rusher in Stanley Hagan, who has 1,010 yards and is second in the KJCCC and third in the NJCAA in rushing. He averages 4.6 yards per carry and 31 carries per game. Hagan has four rushing touchdowns.
Owen Jordan is completing 47 percent of his passes for 133.4 yards per game. He has throws nine touchdown passes, but eight interceptions.
Terrence Hoskin and Courtney Ward both have 20 receptions. Hoskin has 304 receiving yards with four touchdowns. Ward has 256 yards and three scores. Hagan has caught 18 balls out of the backfield for 135 yards.
Fort Scott has had turnovers problems this season. The Greyhounds have lost 9 of 22 fumbles this season and have throws 12 interceptions.
Defense: The Greyhounds have the No. 2 overall pass defense in the Jayhawk Conference this season. Fort Scott is allowing only 186 yards through the air and opposing quarterbacks are completing only 39.7 of their passes. The Greyhounds have 21 quarterback sacks and seven interceptions.
Fort Scott is allowing 29.9 points, 212.3 rushing yards and 398.3 total yards per game.
Stephan Martin leads Fort Scott with 64 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 4.5 quarterback sacks. Austin Fulson has 53 tackles, seven TFLs and two sacks. Marceise Jackson had 52 tackles, while Demetrius Hill has 42 tackles and a team-high 12.5 tackles for loss. William Bland has a team-high six sacks.
Special Teams: Placekicker Mark Whitrock is 20 of 22 on extra points and 4 of 10 on field goals this season. His long is 33 yards, but he has had five field goals blocked.
Whitrock also handled the punting duties. He is averaging 35.1 yards per kick and a net of 34.7. He has placed five inside the 20-yard line.
The Greyhounds have a solid return game. Kevin Short and Stephan Martin each have returned punts for touchdowns. Short is averaging 11.9 yards per return. Short has also taken back a kickoff for a touchdown. He averages 28.7 yards per kickoff return.
This is the 69th meeting all-time between Hutchinson and Fort Scott in a series that dates back to 1929. The Blue Dragons lead the series 35-32-1.
Hutchinson leads the series in games played at Gowans Stadium 19-14-1. Fort Scott leads the series at Fort Scott 18-16. HCC has won 5 of 6 playoff meetings between the two teams.
Last season, Hutchinson defeated Fort Scott 69-36 at Frary Field. The 105 combined points scored were a series record.
+ HCC Football all-time: The Blue Dragons have an all-time football record of 436-316-28 in their 81st year of football. HCC is 307-234-18 in Jayhawk Conference games.
+ Blue Dragons in the NJCAA Poll: The Blue Dragons are ranked 12th in the NJCAA football poll this week. HCC football has been ranked in 36 consecutive and 45 of the last 47 NJCAA football polls.
+ HCC vs. ranked foes: Hutchinson is now 11-14 against NJCAA-ranked competition under Rion Rhoades. Previous, HCC dropped 22 of 23 to ranked teams.
+ High-scoring Dragons: In the last 42 games, Hutchinson has broken the 50-point mark 17 times. The Dragons have broken the 60-point mark 11 times, the 70-point mark four times and own the modern-day single-game scoring record of 90 points, scored against Highland last season.
+ HCC in the red zone: Last week against Independence were 8 of 9 in Red Zone scoring opportunities. HCC is now 32 of 34 in the Red Zone, scoring 27 touchdowns.
+ Lane hitting century mark: Running back Terrell Lane has seven-straight 100-yard rushing games this season. Lane had one 100-yard game as a freshman.
+ Dragons enjoy home cooking: Since the start of 2008, the Blue Dragons have a 24-3 record at Gowans Stadium.
(HCC Sports Information)