By Hutchinson CC Sports Information
COFFEYVILLE, Kan. – For about 58 minutes of Saturday’s Jayhawk Conference-opening road game against Coffeyville, it looked like the Hutchinson Community College football team was reliving the nightmare of a year ago at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Sophomore running back Dylan Kedzior made sure the No. 2-ranked Blue Dragons didn’t suffer the same tough outcome.
Kedzior scored the go-ahead 3-yard touchdown with 1:17 in regulation, and Jalik Thomas‘ interception on the ensuing Coffeyville possession secured a 14-9 victory over the Red Ravens.
The Blue Dragons improve to 4-0 overall and are 1-0 in the Jayhawk Conference. Coffeyville is 2-2 overall and 2-2 in the KJCCC. The Blue Dragons play host to No. 10 Butler at 7 p.m. next Saturday at Gowans Stadium.
The Blue Dragons extend their winning streak to 10 games, which ties for the third-longest winning streak – matching streaks in 1973 and 1974 and 2019-2020/21.
One year ago in the 2021 season-opener, the Blue Dragons turned the ball over seven times, twice in the red zone in a 17-10 loss that snapped a 10-game winning streak.
Saturday, the Blue Dragons turned the ball over five times, all lost fumbles, including a scoop-and-score by the Red Ravens that cut the Dragon lead to 7-6 after the extra point was missed.
One of the Blue Dragon turnovers led to a Forrest Taylor 35-yard field goal with 59 seconds remaining in the third quarter, which put the Red Ravens up 9-7.
Kedzior, who missed the last two games because of injury, entered the game midway through the fourth quarter. The third-year sophomore totaled 85 of the Blue Dragons’ 124 total rushing yards, including a 21-yard carry and the game-winning touchdown.
The Blue Dragon defense turned in a tremendous performance holding Coffeyville to three offensive points and 221 total offensive years. The Red Ravens rushed for 78 yards and passed for 143. The Dragons had four takeaways – Thomas had an interception and fumble recovery, Jaden Mosley had an interception and Javar Strong had a fumble recovery. Linebacker Terry Kirksey had a team-high 11 total tackles. Strong had 10 tackles.
The Blue Dragons rolled up 303 total yards offensively – 179 passing, 124 rushing.
Quarterback Dylan Laible was 20 of 30 passing for 179 yards and his 52nd career passing touchdown.
Despite two first-half turnovers, the Blue Dragons took a 7-0 lead when Benson took a short pass from Laible and worked his way down the sideline for a 54-yard touchdown with 4:53 left in the second quarter.
After a defensive stop and Coffeyville punt, the Blue Dragons turned the ball over, losing a fumble at the Raven 15, which was returned by Bishop Fitzgerald for a Raven touchdown. The extra point was missed and the Dragons led 7-6 with 1:35 to play in the second quarter.
Coffeyville missed a 41-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. The Dragons also got a huge defensive stop when linebacker R.J. Evans sacks Coffeyville quarterback Isaiah Velez to force a punt.
The Dragons took over on their own 28 with 5:47 to play.
Laible was 4 of 4 passing and Kedzior had six carries as the Blue Dragons the lead with a 72-yard, 10-play drive that took 4:30.
Two plays into Coffeyville’s next possession, Thomas interception a Velez pass and the Dragons were able to run the clock out.
GAME NOTES – The Dragons still trail in the all-time series 31-56-4, but have won 13 of the last 15 games with Coffeyville. … The 23 combined points are the fewest in series history since 1983. … Malik Benson moved past Miguel Johns and Jatavius Steward into third place in the Blue Dragon career receiving yards list with 1,553 yards. … With seven receptions, Benson moves into the career Top 10 in receptions with 64 career catches.