Hutchinson CC Sports Information
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – Hutchinson Community College head football coach Rion Rhoades moved within one win of milestone No. 100 and his Blue Dragons protected its first-ever No. 1 ranking.
The Blue Dragons scored the first 14 points of Saturday's Top 10 showdown at No. 7 Iowa Western and never relinquished the lead in a 34-27 victory at Titan Field.
The top-ranked Blue Dragons improve to 3-0, winning in Council Bluffs for the first time in series history. Iowa Western falls to 1-2. The Blue Dragons travel to No. 20 Fort Scott next Saturday for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Frary Field in Fort Scott.
Rhoades picked up his 99th career coaching victory on Saturday. Rhoades has 92 wins at Hutchinson – third most on the Blue Dragon list. Rhoades is a win away from becoming the four coach in Jayhawk Conference history with 100 wins. Rhoades started his coaching career with seven wins at Fort Scott in 2006.
With Hutchinson leading Iowa Western 34-27 with 11:52 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Blue Dragon defense had to come up with four huge stops to preserve the victory. The Dragons had five quarterback sacks and a Ronald Williams interception in the fourth quarter. Hutch also held the Reivers on downs.
With the ball on the Hutch 49, the Blue Dragons finally secured the victory when Latrell Bankston sacked IWCC quarterback Shelton Applewhite on the final play of the game.
Hutchinson's defense had 10 quarterback sacks in the game. Bankston, Oliver McDowell and Anthony Greene had two sacks each. This is the first time Hutch has had 10 sacks in a game since 2015 when Hutch had 11 sacks against Garden City.
Special teams played a huge role, both positively and negatively, on Saturday. The Dragons survived two blocked field-goal attempts, one blocked extra point and a lost muffed punt that led to a Reiver touchdown.
Hutch also made a huge special teams play as Tiyon Evans opened the second half with a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown where he broke seven tackles to give the Dragons a 27-13 lead. That was the first Blue Dragon kickoff return for a touchdown since Anthony Autry against Coffeyville in 2014 (55 games).
The Blue Dragons racked up 369 total yards (181 rushing, 188 passing). The Dragons had 25 first downs and possessed the ball for 36 minutes, 51 seconds. Iowa Western had 231 total offensive yards (45 rushing, 186 passing).
Quarterback Mark Wright completed 25 of 35 passes for 188 yards with a touchdown and interception. Right also rushed for 36 yards and a 1-yard touchdown.
Trey Coleman was Hutch's leading rusher with 61 yards on 14 carries. Kendall Cross had 36 rushing yards on six carries. Mitchell Tinsley had a team-high five catches for 53 yards. Cortez Braham had three receptions for 48 yards and his first career touchdown.
Iowa Western's Zaquandre White became the first opponent to rush for 100 yards, going for 103 yards and two touchdowns to lead Iowa Western. Applewhite was 10 of 33 passing for 184 yards.
The Blue Dragons scored on their first two possessions of the game.
Evans capped off a 53-yard, nine-play drive to open the game with a 4-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead. Hutch followed that with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Wright to Braham to cap a five-play, 67-yard scoring march for a 14-0 lead with 6:51 to go in the opening quarter. The Reivers answered with a Corey Reed 11-yard touchdown reception with 4:59 to go in the first quarter to cut the Dragon lead to 14-7.
Iowa Western recovered a muffed punt at the Dragon 4 early in the second quarter. Two plays later Brian Snead scored from a yard out, but the point-after try was blocked and the Dragons maintained a 14-13 lead with 13:32 to play in the second. Hutch responded with a Cross 4-yard touchdown run with 4:59 to go in the half. The PAT try was blocked and the Dragons upped their lead to 20-13.
Evans opened the second half with his 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The Reivers answered right back with a 50-yard White touchdown run to cut the Dragon lead to 27-20 with 10:48 to play in the third. Two possessions later, after a short Reiver punt set Hutch up at its own 44, Wright guided an eight-play drive that was capped with his one 1-yard sneak for a touchdown and a 34-20 lead with 4:39 to go in the third.
A Dragon interception returned to the Hutch 2 set up a White 2-yard touchdown run with 11:52 remaining in the fourth quarter and cut the Dragon lead to 34-27.
GAME NOTES – The Blue Dragons are now 2-4 all-time vs. Iowa Western, earning their first win in Council Bluffs in three tries. … The Blue Dragons are 6-20 against Top 10 teams under head coach Rion Rhoades and 23-29 against ranked teams in his tenure. Prior to Rhoades coming to Hutchinson, the Dragons lost 22 of 23 games against ranked foes.