Hutchinson CC Sports Information
INDEPENDENCE – The final 1 minute, 51 seconds of the second quarter were key in putting the Hutchinson Community College football team in a 14-point halftime hole.
The Blue Dragons made a furious second-half rally, but the comeback fell just short as Independence took full control of the Jayhawk Conference title chase late Saturday night at Emmott Field.
B.J. Emmons ran for better than 100 yards, quarterback Eric Forrest provided a second-half spark and the defense made several huge stops, but the No. 16 Blue Dragons fell to the No. 6 Pirates 24-19.
The Blue Dragons fall to 6-3 overall and 3-2 in the Jayhawk. Hutch now trails Independence, which won its seventh-straight game to improve to 7-1 and 5-0 in league play. The Pirates own a two-game lead on the field with two games to play.
Forrest completed 5 of 11 passes for 44 yards and a touchdown. Jaylen Erwin had three receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown.
The Blue Dragons were out-gained 364 to 207. The Dragons had a negative-33 yards in the second quarter and just nine total yards in the fourth. Hutch ran for 149 yards but threw for 58.
Indy quarterback Malik Henry completed 18 of 33 passes for 210 yards. Rakeem Boyd rushed 26 times for a game-high for 149 yards.
Independence had 210 passing yards and 154 rushing yards.
Trailing just 7-3 in the latter stages of the second half, the Blue Dragons had the ball at their own 9 with 3:33 to play. Independence recovered a bad shotgun snap at the Dragon seven. Hutchinson's defense made a huge stop keeping the Pirates out of the end zone, stopping the Pirates at the 3 on fourth down.
One play later, another bad snap forced Cam Jones to fall on the ball in the end zone for a safety and the Pirates led 9-3 with 1:51 to play in the half.
Independence took the ensuing free kick and marched 60 yards in five plays as Rakeem Boyd scored his second touchdown of the game on a 12-yard run with 25 seconds left in the half. With the two-point conversion, the Blue Dragons trailed 17-3.
The Blue Dragons inserted Forrest into the lineup to start the second half and he led the Blue Dragons on a nine-play, 77-yard scoring drive. Forest completed the march with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Erwin. Hutch trailed 17-10 with 10:35 to go in the third.
Independence immediately answered with a seven-play, 46-yard scoring drive capped by a Malik Henry 1-yard sneak and the Pirates regains a 24-10 lead with 7:52 remaining in the third.
The Blue Dragons made it a one-possession game again when their 7-play, 71-yard scoring drive was finished off by a Dezmon Jackson 21-yard touchdown run. The extra-point try clinked off the left upright and the Dragons trailed 24-16 with 4:34 to play in the third.
Luke Niemeyer added a 20-yard field goal; his second of the game, to pull Hutchinson within 24-19 with 1:24 to play in the third quarter, but that was a close as Hutchinson came.
The Blue Dragons will play host to Fort Scott next Saturday at Noon at Gowans Stadium.