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Dragons Claim KJCCC Title After Victory at Indy


By Hutchinson CC Sports Information


INDEPENDENCE, Kan. – The No. 1-ranked Hutchinson Community College football team used big plays in all three facets of the game to claim an outright Jayhawk Conference championship on Saturday.

The Blue Dragon offense had three scoring plays of 66 yards or longer, the defense had four interceptions and two safeties and the special teams blocked a field goal to lead Hutchinson to a 42-8 victory over Independence to compete a second-straight undefeated run through the Jayhawk Conference on Saturday at Emmot Field in Independence.

Hutchinson captured its 11th all-time Jayhawk Conference championship and won a fourth-title in a row – 2020/21 regular-season title; 2021 KJCCC Playoff championship and regular-season titles in 2022 and 2023. The Blue Dragons have won 14 league games in a row and 18 games overall against KJCCC opponents, including playoffs.

The No. 1 Blue Dragons (9-0, 6-0) will now play No. 2 Iowa Western (10-0) in the regular-season finale at 1 p.m. next Saturday at Gowans Stadium.

Quarterback Samari Collier threw for career highs of 236 yards on four touchdowns to pace a Blue Dragon offense that racked up 346 total yards.

Collier connected with Oran Singleton for a 66-yard catch and run for a touchdown to opening the scoring with 5:44 to play in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead. One play after a Nylen Jones interception, Collier hit Zeriah Beason in stride for a 70-yard touchdown strike for a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Leading 17-0 in the second quarter, Collier found Tre Richardson for a 67-yard scoring strike for a 24-0 lead with 2:53 to play in the second quarter.

The Blue Dragon defense gave up season highs of 417 passing yards and 414 total yards. Independence threw 62 passes and completed 29. But Hutchinson held its third opponent this season to negative rushing yards. Indy had a minus three yards rushing in the game.

Two of Hutchinson’s season-high-tying four interceptions came in the red zone.

Jones’ second interception of the season came with the Dragons leading only 7-0 in the first quarter. Ryan Nolan stopped another Pirate scoring opportunity with his nation-leading seven interception coming in the end one for a touchback in the second quarter. Malik McConico had his fourth interception of the season and Daivon Nelson had his first of the year.

The Blue Dragons had six quarterback sacks. NJCAA leader Daniel Brown had 1.5 sacks, one led to an intentional grounding in the end zone for a safety and a 26-0 lead in the second quarter. The Blue Dragons held Independence to just 1 of 5 in the red zone. The Pirates were also 1 of 7 on fourth-down conversion tries.

Special teams also got into the act as Danny Saili blocked an Independence field goal attempt late in the first quarter. Then in the fourth quarter, special teams got a safety on the board when a bad Pirate punt snap was recovered by the punter in the end zone, but threw the ball out of bounds for an illegal forward pass and Hutchinson led 35-8.

Collier’s fourth touchdown pass was to Beason from 3 yards out with 25 seconds to play in the third quarter for a 33-0 lead.

Hutchinson’s final touchdown was a Jake Parker-to-Richardson 32-yard touchdown pass with 5:43 remaining in the game.

The Blue Dragons had 346 total yards – 76 rush yards against the No. 2 rush defense in the NJCAA and 270 passing yards).

Collier was also Hutchinson’s leading rusher with 36 yards on seven carries.

Richardson had three receptions for a season-high 99 yards. He had 206 all-purpose yards on the game (2 rushing, 99 receiving, 105 kick returns). Beason had three catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Singleton had 71 receiving yards on two catches and one score.

Jordan Scruggs and K’Von Sherman tied for team-high honors for tackles with seven each.

GAME NOTES – Blue Dragon head coach Drew Dallas moves past Bill Goldsmith into fourth place on the Hutchinson coaching wins list with his 37th victory. … The Dragons are 15-2 on the road under Dallas. … Hutchinson is now 59-25-5 all-time against Independence, 25-14-3 in games at Indy. … Daniel Brown now has 15.5 quarterback sacks this season, which ties him with Jeremiah Ledbetter (2014) for second in the Blue Dragon single-season sacks list.