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September 6, 2013Game 3: Hutchinson vs. Garden City
When: Saturday, September 7, 2013
At: Hutchinson, KS
Stadium: Gowans Stadium
Radio: KHUT-FM (102.9); KWBW-AM (1450)
Internet: Blue Dragon Sports Network
Record: 1-1 (1-0 Jayhawk)
NJCAA Ranking: No. 13
Last Game: Lost to No. 3 Navarro 41-16
Coach: Rion Rhoades, 7th season
Record: 2-0 (1-0 Jayhawk)
NJCAA Ranking: No. 12
Last Game: def. Cisco College 35-21
Coach: Matt Miller, 1st season
It is safe to say that the Hutchinson Community College Blue Dragons have had the toughest start to the season as any team in the nation. The No. 13 Blue Dragons will meet their third-straight nationally ranked opponent on Saturday as No. 12 Garden City comes to Gowans Stadium.
Hutchinson defeated then-No. 12 Coffeyville two weeks ago 44-14 in Coffeyville. Last week, in a game much closer than the final score, No. 3 Navarro spoiled HCC's home opener with a 41-16 defeat of the Blue Dragons.
Now the No. 12 Broncbusters come riding high into Gowans.
Garden City humbled Independence 67-0 in the season opener two weeks ago. Last week at Cisco College, the Busters were tied at halftime and shut out Cisco in the second half for a 35-21 victory to start the season 2-0. The victory shot the Busters up the national rankings five spots to No. 12 and past HCC.
If Saturday's game comes anywhere close to what last year's meeting produced, look out and hold on.
Hutchinson won a 63-49 track meet at Garden City last year in Week 3. There were a combined 112 points, 49 first downs, 501 rushing yards, 764 passing yards and 1,265 total yards amassed between HCC and Garden in that game.
HCC's Terrell Lane broke Mack Herron's single-game rushing record that had stood since 1967 with 308 yards and three touchdowns on 29 attempts.
That was also the game where Garden City's Tyreek Hill became a household name in the Jayhawk Conference with 255 all-purpose yards, including a dazzling and fast 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Hutchinson: Rion Rhoades is in his seventh season with the Blue Dragons. He has a 45-24 record at HCC and 52-29 in his eighth season as a head coach.
Garden City: Matt Miller is in his first season with the Broncbusters.
Blue Dragon Football
Blue Dragon football is 440-319-28 in 81-plus seasons. + HCC has won six Jayhawk Conference Region VI championships (1932, 1947, 1963, 1969, 1974, 1995). + HCC is 309 -235-11 in Jayhawk Conference games.
Series History vs. Garden City
This will be the 72nd meeting between Hutchinson and Garden City in a continuous series that dates back to 1947.
Garden City holds the series advantage at 37-34, but the Blue Dragons have won five consecutive games in the series.
At Gowans Stadium, the Blue Dragons hold a slim 16-15 record, while the Broncbusters lead the series in games played at Garden City 22-18. The teams have met six times in Region VI postseason competition, but not since 2001. HCC is just 1-5 vs. Garden City in postseason play, but the one victory was the 1995 Region VI championship game, won by HCC 34-22 in Garden City.
Noting The Blue Dragons
l Through two games, the Blue Dragons are averaging 30.0 points, 94.5 rushing yards, 252.0 passing yards and 346.5 total yards per game.
l Sophomore quarterback Luke Barnes is completing 56.8 percent of his passes for 504 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
l Coming off a four-catch, 125-yard game vs. Navarro, receiver Jabril Soloman has 12 catches for a team-high 210 yards and one touchdown. Out of the backfield, Mike Blakely has a team-high 13 catches for 125 yards. Receiver Chris Murray has caught 10 balls for 42 yards and one TD.
l The Blue Dragons' running back looks to break out this week. Freshman Chase Abbington leads HCC on the ground with 101 yards on 25 carries and one TD. The Blue Dragons are averaging just 2.7 yards per carry so far this season.
l After a spectacular effort against Coffeyville in Week 1, the Blue Dragon defense had its struggled against Navarro, giving up 44 points and 316 rushing yards. Entering Week 3, the Blue Dragons are allowing 27.5 points, 173.5 rushing yards and 139.5 passing yards per game.
l The Blue Dragons have forced six takeaways (4 interceptions, 2 fumbles) this season.
l HCC's defense ranks No. 7 in the NJCAA in quarterback sacks with eight. Sophomore linebacker Michael Peek has a team-high 2.5 sacks.
l Sophomore transfer Jaylon Myers is the nation's leader in interceptions with four. He tied a school record for three picks against Coffeyville on Aug. 24.
l Sophomore linebacker Brock Long has a team-high 23 tackles. Sophomore cornerback Christian Goodlett is second with 18 tackles. He tied a school record with six passes broken up against Coffeyville on Aug. 24.
l Freshman kicker Ryan Weese continued his strong start. Weese is a perfect 6 of 6 on extra-point tries and is 6 of 6 on field-goal attempts. Weese's long is 31 yards vs. Coffeyville. Weese has also been strong on kickoffs with four touchbacks and an opponent's starting average of its own 22-yard line.
l HCC's return teams have been strong. HCC's kickoff returns have averaged 28.2 yards per attempt with four going for 30 yards or better. HCC's punt return team is averaging 9.2 yards per return. Chris Murray has a 78-yard return for a touchdown this season.
Noting Garden City
l Starting the season ranked No. 17 in the preseason NJCAA poll, the Broncbusters have shot up to No. 12 with a 67-0 victory over Independence and a 35-21 victory at Cisco last weekend.
l Through two weeks, the Busters are averaging 51.0 points, 199.0 rushing yards and 212.5 passing yards per game.
l Running back Tyreek Evans has ran for 131 yards with two touchdowns while averaging 5.7 yards per carry. He is also a threat in the return game. Last year against Hutchinson, Evans returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.
l Evans has already had a memorable moment at Gowans Stadium. At the 2013 NJCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Evans was the silver medalist in a memorable 100-meter dash finals, losing by 0.02 seconds with a wind-aided time of 9.98 seconds.
l Quarterback Akeem Jones is the reigning Jayhawk Conference Offensive Player of the Week. He accounted for four touchdowns and threw for 199 yards, rushing for 34 more against Cisco last week. For the season, Jones is completing 54 percent of his passes for 425 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions.
l Brandon Snell and Nile Daniel lead the Garden City receivers. Snell has 12 catches for 156 yards and three touchdowns. Daniel comes off a 7-reception, 100-yard game vs. Cisco and has 12 catches for 154 yards for the season.
l Defensively, the Busters have been dynamite against the run. Garden City leads the NJCAA at minus 11-yards per game. Garden City is allowing just 150.5 passing yards and only 139 total yards per game against. Garden's defense has five takeaways. The Busters have 12 quarterback sacks so far this season.
l Errol Clark is Garden City's leading tackler with 20 stops and four tackles for loss. D'Vonta Derricott is second with 13 stops and an interception.
l The Busters have one defensive touchdown and one special teams touchdown/
l Kicker Tyler Peterson is a perfect 13 of 13 on extra points and 1 of 1 on field goals. His only attempt has come from 20 yards out.
l Garden City defeated Copiah-Lincoln 31-29 in the 2012 Mississippi Bowl.