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December 9, 2013

Blue Dragons roll to Bowl win

BLUE DRAGONS ROLL TO SALT CITY BOWL VICTORY OVER DAKOTA COLLEGE


The Hutchinson Community College defense's late-season surge continued in a big way and the No. 18 Blue Dragons dominated Dakota College in every facet to win the 2013 Salt City Bowl 57-0 on a frigid Saturday at Gowans Stadium.

The Blue Dragons finish the season 8-4 and extended their school record for bowl wins to six. Hutchinson also set a new five-year team record for victories with the program's 42nd dating back to 2009.

Temperature at kickoff was a brisk 16 degrees. That was a record low temperature for kickoff for a Salt City Bowl. On the field, the fifth-annual Salt City Bowl produced 18 broken team, individual or combined game records and four more tied marks.

"It was fun," freshman wide receiver Chris Murray said. "It was cold, but it was fun. We came out here, had a good time and got the victory."

Salt City Bowl defensive MVP Zack Weekley led an incredible Blue Dragon defensive charge that held the Lumberjacks (8-3) to only four yards of total offense and a minus-41 rushing yards. Dakota College didn't complete a pass until the third quarter. Only 6 of 61 Lumberback plays were snapped in Hutchinson territory. Dakota College had six first downs, three by Hutch penalties. Seven of Dakota College's 19 offensive possessions went for negative yards.

Weekley led the Blue Dragons defensively with nine tackles, one tackle for loss and a 33-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

Defensive end Claude George set a Salt City Bowl record with four of a game-record and team season-high seven sacks for HCC. George also had a forced fumble, deflected pass and two quarterback hurries. George finished with eight tackles overall.

"It was nice to go out strong," Weekley said. "After spending a year and a half with these guys, to have one more game with them and to win it ... was a good time."

The Blue Dragon defense posted their third shutout of the season, the first time that's happened since 1999. Over the final

Offensively, the Blue Dragons scored on the very first play from scrimmage - a 60-yard Frankie Seurer-to-Jabril Soloman pass - and practically lived in Lumberjack territory. Hutchinson started 12 of their 19 possession in Lumberjack territory and had 67 of 84 offensive snaps on Dakota College's side of the field.

Seurer, the game's Offensive MVP, completed 13 of 29 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns passes. Seurer guided the Blue Dragons to a Salt City Bowl record 481 yards of total offense. The Dragons rolled up 266 rushing yards and 215 yards through the air.

"We came out here and had a good game plan," said Seurer, who became HCC's starting quarterback in Week 8 when Luke Barnes was injured in the first quarter against Fort Scott. "We knew they weren't one of the best teams we've played, but we had to act like they were."

Sophomore running back Mike Blakely was having a big game until a second-quarter injury knocked him out of the game. Blakely had seven rushing yards on just seven carries and had one reception for 23 yards. Blakely accounted for two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving.

Sophomore Orange Mooney, playing for the first time in seven games, had a game-high 71 yards rushing on 15 carries. Freshman running back Chase Abbington had a team-high five receptions for 35 yards. He rushed for 69 more and had one touchdown.

Even defensive lineman Marquis Montgomery got into the scoring column when he bulled into the end zone from 1-yard out.

"He's an awesome young man who provides so much energy and enthusiasm," HCC head coach Rion Rhoades said of Montgomery. "He had a good year as a defensive lineman, but everyone wants to get in the end zone. Everyone came away from the heaters to watch that play."

Dakota College quarterback Shazzan Mumphrey completed just 4 of 27 passes for 57 yards and an interception - which was HCC sophomore Christian Goodlett's fifth of the season. O'Brea Williams was the Lumberjacks' leading rusher with 57 yards when he returned a partially blocked punt to the Blue Dragon 16.

HCC also got a big lift from the rough day the Dakota College punt team had. In addition to the partially blocked punt by Jacob Brooks, Dakota College had one punt snap sail out of the end zone for a safety and two other that led to punts not even getting off. Two Lumberjack punters averaged 19 yards per punt on a Salt City Bowl-record nine punts.

The Blue Dragons put up 20 points in the first 7 minutes, 23 seconds of the game.

After Seurer's 60-yard strike to Soloman to open the game, two possessions later, Seurer hooked up with Blakely for a 23-yard touchdown pass and a 14-0 lead with 10:17 to play in the opening quarter.

After HCC executed a successful onside kick - recovered by kicker Ryan Weese - the Dragons needed six plays to cover 53 yards for the score. Blakely scored his second touchdown of the game on a 32-yard scamper and a 20-0 lead with 7:37 to play in the first quarter.

The Blue Dragons misfired somewhat for the remainder of the half, getting only a safety in the second quarter when a Dakota College punt snap sailed out of the end zone. HCC led 22-0 with 3:53 remaining in the first half.

"Maybe the guys were on cruise control after the first few touchdowns," Rhoades said. "We couldn't finish drives. We played good defense. The guys hung in there. But we had to get the right mindset at halftime and decide to finish the game. Just play Blue Dragon football."

The Blue Dragons scored 28 points over a stretch of 5 minutes, 27 seconds of the third quarter to break the game open.

First, Seurer guided a six-play, 33-yard scoring drive to open the second half, hitting Murray with a 32-yard touchdown pass with 12:22 to go and a 29-0 lead.

After taking over at the Lumberjack 1-yard line following another bad punt snap, Montgomery cashed in at the 11:15 mark for a 36-0 lead.

Touchdown No. 3 of the quarter was set up by Jeremiah Ledbetter's sack and fumble of Mumphrey that was recovered by Joe Schrock at the 'Jack 26. On the next play receiver Bryce Harvey threw a touchdown pass to Jovan Sigler for a 43-0 lead.

The defense jumped in again, getting a forced fumble by George and a 33-yard return for a touchdown by Weekley for a 50-0 lead with 8:07 remaining in the third quarter.

"It's not each guy for himself on this defense," Weekley said. "When someone does something good, the entire defense wants to turn around and do it again."

Abbington scored the final points of the game for HCC on a 10-yard run with 12:48 to play.

The Blue Dragon defense was threatened once. After the blocked punt gave Dakota College the ball at the HCC 16, the Lumberjacks advanced the ball as far as the 13 before George and Ledbetter sacked quarterback Willie Fair on third down and the Lumberjacks turned the ball over on downs after an incomplete pass on fourth down.

GAME NOTES - The Blue Dragons complete their 82nd season of football with an overall record of 447-322-28. … The Blue Dragons are now 10-6-2 in bowl games. … This was Dakota College's first bowl appearance. … The 2013 Blue Dragons wind up No. 2 in team history in both scoring (450 points) and scoring average (38.5 points per game). … Receiver Chris Murray finished with 61 receptions, with ties two others for second place on the single-season receptions list and ties for seventh already on the career receptions list. … Linebacker Brock Long became the fifth Blue Dragon defender under head coach Rion Rhoades to finish a season with 100 tackles. … HCC was 7 of 16 on third down, but 0 of 6 on fourth down in the game. … The average starting field position for HCC in the game was the Dakota College 44. The Lumberjacks was their own 21.



SALT CITY BOWL RECORDS BROKEN

Most plays from scrimmage - 84, Hutchinson

Total offense - 481 yards, Hutchinson

Fewest yards from scrimmage - 4, Dakota College

Fewest first downs - 6, Dakota College

Most rushing yards - 256, Hutchinson

Fewest rushing yards - minus 41, Dakota College

Lowest completion percentage - 13.6%, Dakota College

Most punts - 9, Dakota College

Margin of victory - 57, Hutchinson

Most points in a quarter - 28, Hutchinson (third quarter)

Fewest points in a game - 0, Dakota College

Most quarterback sacks - 7, Hutchinson

Most penalty yards - 145, Hutchinson

Fewest penalties - 4, Dakota College

Individual quarterback sacks - 4, Claude George, Hutchinson

Longest rushing play - 63 yards, O'Brea Williams, Dakota College

Most combined offensive plays - 145

Most combined fumbles - 9



SALT CITY BOWL RECORDS TIED

Fewest pass completions - 4, Dakota College

Most Penalties - 14, Hutchinson

Most combined points in a quarter - 28 (third quarter)

Most combined lost fumbles - 4



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