Hutchinson CC Sports Information
As cold as it was as kickoff on Saturday at Gowans Stadium, the Hutchinson Community College football team felt like it was snowballed.
With the Blue Dragons going in for a potential game-tying touchdown in the first quarter, Hutch's potential score turned into a 99-yard Iowa Central fumble return for a touchdown.
After that, the Tritons took advantage of every Blue Dragon mistake the snowball became too large to stop. The Blue Dragons dropped their 2018 regular-season finale 54-16 on a frigid Saturday at Gowans Stadium.
The No. 8 Blue Dragons complete the regular season 8-3 and loses to Iowa Central for the first time in six games. Iowa Central won its fifth in a row and improves to 7-4.
The lone offensive bright spot for Hutchinson was receiver-turned-quarterback Khalil McClain, who rushed nine times for 95 yards and touchdowns of 1 and 12 yards. He also had one punt return for 33 yards and one kickoff return of 25 yards.
Jonathan White rushed for 76 yards on 12 carries and Mantai Ellis had 49 yards on six carries.
The Blue Dragons were out-gained by the Tritons 440-255. The Blue Dragons had 220 rushing yards and only 35 yards through the air.
The Blue Dragons had two early chances with interceptions from De'Mareyae Givens and Letayveon Beaton. But the Dragons were unable to produce any points from those takeaways. Hutchinson, however, had a season-worst five turnovers while lead to 27 Triton points.
Hutch also suffered through their worst defensive game of the season as Iowa Central quarterback Blake Dever threw five touchdown passes and 237 yards on 17 of 28 passing.
Iowa Central's first two touchdowns came from its defense. First Jason Martens returned a Dragon fumble 20 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 3:38 left in the first quarter. The Blue Dragons looked to be mounting a game-tying drive. With the ball at the ICCC 3, Arian Strong took a direct snap and was pushing the pile forward to the one, but Justin Nutoff stripped Strong and raced 99 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 14:13 to play in the second quarter.
Iowa Central added two more second-quarter touchdowns to build a 27-point lead. But the Blue Dragons blocked the extra point and Givens took it back all the way for a defensive two-point conversion.
Hutch trailed 27-2 at halftime.
After a Blue Dragon interception on their first possession of the second half, ICCC made Hutch pay with a Rashad Witty 9-yard touchdown catch with 9:58 to play in the third and the Tritons led 33-2.
McClain scored both of his touchdowns in the third quarter to cut the Iowa Central lead to 40-16 after three quarters. The Tritons struck for two big plays on a Max Dunlap 93 yard touchdown reception and a 32 yard Jatoviay Hill scoring run.
Despite the loss, the Blue Dragons are bowl eligible. Those matchups will be announced next week.