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Dragons Set for National Semifinal Matchup with EMCC


By Blue Dragon Sports Information


HUTCHINSON, Kan. – For the second-straight season, the Hutchinson Community College Football Team is playing host to an NJCAA Playoff National Semifinal game at Gowans Stadium.

The No. 1-ranked Blue Dragons (10-0) will meet No. 4 East Mississippi (9-2) in the first national semifinal at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Gowans Stadium. The other national semifinal will be played at 2 p.m. on Sunday between No. 3 Kilgore and No. 2 Iowa Western at Council Bluffs, Iowa.

The Hutchinson-East Mississippi game will be broadcast live on Blue Dragon flagship station KHUT-FM (102.9) beginning at 1:30 p.m. with Countdown to Kickoff. The game will be exclusively streamed on ESPN+ beginning at 2:00 p.m.

The Blue Dragons rolled through the regular season undefeated for a second-straight season and secured the No. 1 seed for the playoffs with a 42-28 victory over No. 2 Iowa Western on November 11 at Gowans Stadium. The Blue Dragons rallied from a 13-point deficit, scoring 28 unanswered points to grab the lead.

The Blue Dragons outgained Iowa Western 419-314 and controlled the ball for 36 minutes, 56 seconds. Iowa Western had a 135-36 advantage after one quarter with 119 rushing yards in the first 15 minutes. Hutchinson turned those numbers around, out-gaining the Reivers 353-139 over the final three quarters. Iowa Western had just 16 rushing yards in the final three quarters while the Dragons had 293 yards on the ground, including 189 yards in the fourth quarter alone.

Five-time national champion East Mississippi avenged both of its regular-season losses in the MCCAC playoffs. First the Lions defeated Mississippi Gulf Coast 33-21 in the semifinals. Gulf Coach defeated EMCC 42-17 on September 28. Then in the championship game, the Lions defeated Copiah-Lincoln in the Mississippi championship game on November 18. East Mississippi lost to Co-Lin 23-20 in the 2023 season opener.

Two of the top offense in the NJCAA will square off on Saturday. Hutchinson is No. 2 in scoring offense (39.2 ppg) and fifth in rushing offense (229.2 ypg). East Mississippi ranks fourth in scoring offense (38.3 ppg) and is fourth in passing offense (284.5 ypg).

Hutchinson bids for its third 11-win season in program history (2014 and 2022).


No. 1 Hutchinson (10-0) vs. No. 4 East Mississippi (9-2)
NJCAA National Playoff Semifinals

When: Saturday, December 2
Where: Gowans Stadium, Hutchinson, KS
Kickoff: 2:02 p.m.
VideoESPN+ (Pay per view), 2:00 p.m. – Pat Strathman (PBP); Gary Thomas (color)
Stadium entry: Gates open at 12:30 p.m.
TicketsOnline – $15; On site – $18
X: @bluedragonsport