Hutchinson overwhelms Dodge City

Sophomore running back La'Darrian Page ran for a season-high 198 yards and two touchdowns, while the Hutchinson Community College defense scored for the third time this season as the Blue Dragons ran through Dodge City 40-6 in a Jayhawk Conference clash on Saturday night at Gowans Stadium.

Hutchinson (2-1, 1-1 Jayhawk Conference) snaps a five-game losing streak to Dodge City.

Page helped the Blue Dragons rush for 300 for the first time this season, rushing for a season-high 302 yards and four rushing touchdowns.

The Blue Dragons controlled the ball for 38 minutes, 19 seconds, including a staggering 13 minutes, 54 seconds in the third quarter alone. HCC ran the ball on 65 of 69 offensive plays against the Conquistadors.

Meanwhile, the Blue Dragon defense turned in dominating performance, holding Dodge City to 174 total yards, the second-straight game to hold an opponent to less than 200 total yards. The seventh-ranked rushing defense in the nation, HCC held the Conquistadors (0-4, 0-3) to just 49 yards on the ground.

"Defense played really good," said sophomore defensive lineman Eugene Kinlaw, who had six tackles and three tackles for loss. "We had good practices all week and it all opened up for us tonight."

Kinlaw forced a safety in the second quarter, which is the third time this season that the defense has scored. It's the first time in 71 games (the 2001 season opener at Independence) that the Blue Dragon defense has forced a safety. "We expect that from our defense," HCC head coach Rion Rhoades said.

"That's not something that we feel is icing on the cake. That's what we want to do. We want to be aggressive."

Even the special teams got in on the act against Dodge City. After the Conquistadors scored a touchdown to cut the HCC lead to 9-6, freshman Gage McKinnis took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 97 yards – the second-longest kickoff return in program history – for a touchdown and a 16-6 lead late in the second quarter.

"When you get a return, it's big. It put the momentum back on our side," McKinnis said. "It kind of opened up later, but the guys maintained their blocks and it was a great effort on all of our parts. They went to the whistle and it opened up and we got the return."

In addition to Page's big night – he's had two 100-yard rushing games in three outings this season – freshman Chris Clay ran the ball 18 times for 60 yards – both season highs – and his first career touchdown.

Freshman Trezz Tillman ran nine times for 38 yards and his first career touchdown. Dragon running backs averaged 4.6 yards per carry against Dodge City.

"The offensive line did a fantastic job of getting some movement and creating some seams," Rhoades said. "The backs did a good job of hitting hit and holding onto the football. That's really what we wanted to do.

"The third quarter was a tremendous stretch of time for our team. We were able to shut them down offensively and our offense had the ball 14 of the 15 minutes in the third quarter. That was a real pivotal part of the game."

Dodge City back-up quarterback Jean Julmiste was Dodge City's leading rusher with 52 yards on 14 carries. Julmiste completed just six passes in 15 attempts for 112 yards.

Hutchinson's defense – led by sophomore linebacker Jamin Raigoza's nine total tackles and six by sophomore Thatcher Starling and Kinlaw – had 10 tackles for loss, including five quarterback sacks.

After forcing a three-and-out to start the game,started their ball-control offense, going 43 yards in 12 plays – all runs - and converted one fourth down to score on its opening drive for the second time in three games. Page finished off the drive with a 2-yard plunge and a 7-0 lead with 5:45 to play in the first quarter.

A Clinton Stein 40-yard punt downed at the Dodge City 4 set up the Blue Dragons' next score. Kinlaw corralled Dodge City running back Jacquese Seward in the end zone for a safety and a 9-0 HCC lead with 7:53 to play in the second quarter.

Dodge City caught a break late in the second quarter when Joey Garcia recovered a Blue Dragon fumble at the HCC 32. The Dragons were one play from holding the Conquistadors, but Julmiste connected with Scott Donaldson on fourth-and-6 for a 28-yard touchdown pass with 3:50 to play in the half. Thad Williams blocked the extra point and HCC led 9-6.

The Dragons responded right away on the ensuing kickoff when McKinnis received the ball at the 3-yard line and patiently worked his way to midfield before breaking away for a 97-yard touchdown on the return and a 16-6 lead after Kelly Roberts' extra point with 3:32 to play. Hutchinson literally owned the third quarter.

HCC took the second-half kickoff and methodically went 80 yards in 14 plays – all running plays – in 7 minutes, 54 seconds. The drive was capped by Clay's first collegiate touchdown, a 5-yard run for a 23-6 Dragon lead with 6:59 to play in the quarter.

The Dragons forced a three-and-own and took over with 5:53 to play in the quarter. HCC ran the clock out and completed a 12-play, 51-yard march with a Roberts' 20-yard field goal for a 26-6 lead with 14:18 to play in the fourth quarter. HCC got the ball back and Page wowed the Blue Dragon faithful with a scintillating 50-yard touchdown run for a 33-6 lead with 11:15 to play.

The Dragons held on downs and completing their final scoring march of the night on a Tillman 1-yard run to cap off a nine-play, 59 yard march in 4:19 to lead 40-6 with 4:15 to play.

The Blue Dragons will play host to No. 12 Fort Scott next Saturday night at Gowans Stadium. GAME NOTES – This was program victory No. 399. … This was the first time in 24 games that HCC has scored 40 points. … It's the first time in seven games against Dodge City to score 40 or more points vs. the Conquistadors.

Notes: HCC is now 40-33-4 against Dodge City. … Tight ends caught the only passes for HCC on Saturday night. Dustin Weissbeck caught a 14-yard pass and sophomore Galen Haaga caught a 6-yard pass. Both were for first downs. … Gage McKinnis had three kickoff returns for 147 yards and had one 14-yard punt return. … HCC punter Clinton Stein had just one punt on Saturday night. He had 12 punts in his first two games. … Kelly Roberts was a perfect 5 of 5 on extra points. He was just2 of 5 in his first two games.


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