DRAGONS BATTLE FOR SEASON-OPENING WIN OVER ELLSWORTH

Erin Collins runs for some of his game-high 104 yards and three touchdowns in the Blue Dragons' 30-12 season-opening victory over Ellsworth on Thursday night at Gowans Stadium. (Bre Rogers/Blue Dragon Sports Information).
Erin Collins runs for some of his game-high 104 yards and three touchdowns in the Blue Dragons' 30-12 season-opening victory over Ellsworth on Thursday night at Gowans Stadium. (Bre Rogers/Blue Dragon Sports Information).

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

Erin Collins rushed for 104 yards and three touchdowns and Letayveon Beaton had two key early interceptions as the Hutchinson Community College football team defeated the Ellsworth Panthers 30-12 on Thursday night in the 2018 season opener at Gowans Stadium.

The Blue Dragons won their 11th-straight season opener and are now 4-0 in season openers on Thursday night.

Collins rushed for 104 yards on 17 carries and scored on touchdown runs of 1, 9 and 46 yards. Collins rushed for 85 yards in the second half. Collins also had three receptions for 23 yards.

Sophomore Dezmon Jackson added 66 yards on 12 carries to lead the Blue Dragons to a 190-53 advantage in rushing yards. Overall, the Blue Dragons out-gained Ellsworth 348-212.

Defensively, the Blue Dragons held Ellsworth to just four Adijan Miuhamdjc field goals despite the Panthers starting three first-half drives in Hutchinson territory.

With the Dragons trailing 3-0, Beaton intercepted the first of his two passes in the first half at the Panther 38. His second interception came with 4:05 to play in the second quarter. He returned it to the Ellsworth 10, where three plays later, Collins scores his first touchdown, a 1-yard plunge to give the Dragons a 14-6 lead.

Hutchinson's defense forced five turnovers (four interceptions and a fumble recovery) and four quarterback sacks, one that led to a safety. The Blue Dragons held Ellsworth to 53 rushing yards and 159 passing yards. The Panthers had just 63 total yards in the second half.

The Blue Dragons had 190 rushing and 152 passing yards. They overcame two first-half turnovers.

Freshman quarterback Mason Schucker was 13 of 30 passing for 97 yards and an interception. Brandon George was 2 of 2 for 61 yards and a touchdown.

Izaiah Salaam had three receptions for 15 yards. Cephus Smith and Jalik Jaggwe had two receptions each and Jaylen Erwin had one catch for a 65-yard touchdown.

Ellsworth took a 3-0 lead on a Miuhamdjc 35-yard field goal on Ellsworth's first possession of the game. The Dragons misfired on their first two possessions, but Beaton's first interception set up Hutch's first score. George's first pass as a Blue Dragon was a 65-yard pitch and catch as Erwin outran the Ellsworth defenders to the end zone as Hutch took a 7-3 lead 1:17 to play in the first quarter.

Miuhamdjc kicked a 28-yard field goal with 12:41 to play to cut the Dragon lead to 7-6. The defense stepped up to put points on the board a few minutes later as Latrell Bankston forced an intentional grounding call in the end zone for a Hutch safety and a 9-6 lead wtih11:36 to go in the first half.

The Blue Dragons led 16-9 at halftime and 16-12 after three quarters.

Hutchinson dominated the fourth quarter, out-gaining the Panthers 154-5. Collins rushed for a pair of touchdowns to build the final margin.

The Blue Dragons will play at No. 5 Independence on Saturday, September 1.

GAME NOTES – The Blue Dragons are now51-34-2 in 87 season openers. … The Dragons own a 5-4 all-time series lead over Ellsworth, including 3-2 at Gowans Stadium. … The Blue Dragons are now 51-14 under head coach Rion Rhoades when a Blue Dragon back rushes for 100 yards or more. … Dezmon Jackson added 117 kickoff return yards on three returns, including a 73-yard return. .. Dezmon Jackson (179), Erin Collins (127) and Jaylin Erwin (106) all had at least 100 all-purpose yards. … De'Mareyae Givens and Art Green had the other Blue Dragon interceptions. Karim Brown had the fumble recovery on a muffed Ellsworth punt. … Clarence Hicks and four tackles for loss and two quarterback sacks. ... Hutch outscored Ellsworth 14-3 in points off turnovers.