Posts Tagged ‘Blue Dragons’

Time for Blue Dragons to go bowling

Friday, December 1st, 2017

By Lucas Barlow
Sports Editor

After four months of football, Hutchinson Community College’s season will end on Saturday, and it’s been a wild one.

As Hutchinson is bowl eligible, the Blue Dragons will get to play one final game of the season. Before Thanksgiving, it was announced that the Blue Dragons will face Eastern Arizona in the Salt City Bowl. This will be coach Rion Rhoades’ seventh Salt City Bowl, and the opponent is a familiar one as they played Eastern Arizona back in 2010.

Rhoades believes it’s going to be a challenging matchup.

“Their offense is hard to get prepared for because it’s so unorthodox, you don’t see it much these days,” he said. “It’s hard to simulate in practice. And on defense, well, everything they’re good at, we struggle with.”

The Gila Monsters run a flexbone offense, a formation that is rare in college football.

Although the Blue Dragons are up against a good team, Rhoades still has a high amount of confidence in his squad

“After Thanksgiving, everyone showed up very engaged in practice. I think they know that we’re facing a good football team. Their hungry and we got something to prove here.”

The Blue Dragons will play the Gila Monsters on home turf. Game time is at 1 p.m. and will be hosted at Gowans Stadium.

In a season where records were broken, comebacks were made and 90 men came together, it’s safe to say this season has been one for the books.

The season started off with a rollercoaster of emotions, as the Blue Dragons came back from 25-point deficit to rallying off one of the most exciting games of the season, winning 50-42 against Coffeyville Community College. This comeback was also the largest in Hutchinson’s 86-year history.

The following week, Hutchinson travel to Iowa to face No. 12 Iowa Western. This matchup was highly anticipated and it proved to be an exciting one. However, the Blue Dragons couldn’t top the Reivers falling 27-21, their first loss of the season.

The Blue Dragons then went on to win their next five games, highlighted a by 91-0 thrashing of Rezolution Prep. During this game, as many as seven team records were broken including, most points in a single game, largest margin of victory and most touchdowns scored. Hutchinson reached its peak national ranking during this time at No. 9. The Blue Dragons also became bowl eligible after their sixth win of the season.

Hard times hit the Blue Dragons the following week. On a cold, wet, homecoming night, their winning streak ended by No. 16 Butler Community College, 38-10.

Next, Hutchinson couldn’t find its footing against Independence Community College as the Blue Dragons fell 24-19. The Blue Dragons made it three straight losses with an upset loss to Fort Scott Community College in the final home game of the regular season.

In the regular-season finale, the Blue Dragons came together to play a solid game against Dodge City Community College. After two special team touchdowns, Hutchinson won 27-6.

Basketball teams have been road warriors so far in conference play

Friday, December 1st, 2017

By Cassidy Crites
Staff writer

For the first month of basketball season, the Hutchinson Community College teams have had anything but a home-court advantage. Out of the Blue Dragons’ first eight conference games, six have been away.

In November, the Sports Arena hosted two different volleyball tournaments. First was the KCAC volleyball tournament. The arena also had the opportunity to host the NJCAA National Volleyball tournament. These events took place over two different weekends, resulting in road games for the basketball squads.

However, there are positives to having so many road games at the beginning of the season. The Blue Dragon teams play four straight home games in the middle of January.

Women’s coach John Ontjes wasn’t fond of playing so many road games but has found the positives in the situation.

“There has been a disadvantage with how many new kids we have on our team not playing at home, but picking up a few road wins now will help when we return the home games in January,” Ontjes said.

Despite all the traveling, both men and women’s Blue Dragon teams are off to a good start. The women post a 6-2 overall record and 4-2 in the conference after Wednesday’s win against Colby. Their two losses have come from Seward County Community College and Cloud County Community College, both on their opponent’s court.

The men are 9-1 overall and 5-1 in the conference. Their one loss came from Cloud County, also at the Thunderdome.

While some athletes feel the effect of not playing on their court, Ontjes does not feel as though it has altered the way the girls play.

“It would’ve been nice to start the conference with two home games, but I don’t think it’s made that big of an impact on the way we played. The kids we have didn’t know the difference,” Ontjes said.

Up next the Blue Dragons hit the road again to face Garden City on Saturday. Hutch rounds out the eight-game start Dec. 6 at Butler.

Athlete of the week, Nov. 19-25

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Jada Mickens, women’s basketball

The week: Mickens had quite the week in leading the Blue Dragons to a pair of Jayhawk Conference victories. The Liberal freshman first had eight points, five assists and 20 rebounds in a 63-53 win against Coffeyville, and then she had 18 points and 12 rebounds in a 75-62 win against Neosho County.

The season: Mickens is averaging 12.4 points and 11.4 rebounds a game.

Athlete of the week: Jerry Jacobs

Friday, November 17th, 2017

Athlete of the week, for Nov. 5-11

Jerry Jacobs, football

The week: Jacobs helped the Blue Dragons finish the regular season in a positive way, as he had five tackles, an interception and a pass broken up in Hutchinson’s 27-6 win at Dodge City. Jacobs also returned a blocked field goal 86 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Jacobs has 33 tackles this season for the 7-4 Blue Dragons, who finish the season Dec. 2 in the Salt City Bowl against Eastern Arizona.

Football heads to bowl game after beating Dodge City

Friday, November 17th, 2017

By Lucas Barlow

Sports Editor

The Hutchinson Community College football team’s regular season came to a close as the Blue Dragons cruised to a 27-6 win over Dodge City Community College on Saturday.

The Blue Dragons snapped their three-game losing streak, finishing 7-4 overall and 4-3 in the Jayhawk Conference. The Conquistadors finish 4-7 and 1-6.

After leading by seven late in the first half, the Blue Dragons pulled off one impressive play to head into halftime. Dodge City lined up for a 24-yard field goal when Hutchinson blocked the kick. The play wasn’t over however, because Hutchinson’s Jerry Jacobs picked up the loose ball, and took it back for a 86-yard touchdown. The Blue Dragons led 13-0 at halftime, and they didn’t slow down in the second half.

Hutchinson used an interception, a goal line stop, and a punt return for a touchdown to secure the victory over the Conquistadors.

The Blue Dragon defense held Dodge City to 237 total yards and 51 rushing, but Hutchinson compiled only 206 total yards for themselves. Three running backs, B.J. Emmons, Dezmon Jackson, and Andrew Lee split Hutchinson’s 125 rushing yards. Quarterback Eric Forrest went 12 of 16 on passing attempts, for a total of 69 yards.

Sunday’s win marked Rion Rhoades’ 80th victory as head coach for the Blue Dragons. He also reached this mark faster than any other coach in Hutchinson Community College history.

Next up for the Blue Dragons will be the Salt City Bowl on Dec. 2. They will face the Eastern Arizona Gila Monsters at Gowans Stadium. This will be the second meeting between the two teams, playing each other last in the 2010 Salt City Bowl.

Blue Dragon volleyball relishes underdog role at national tournament

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

By Lucas Barlow

Sports Editor

The road for the Hutchinson Community College volleyball team will end in its own arena, as the NJCAA National Championship is being hosted at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.

The season has been a rollercoaster of emotions so far for the team, but they’re not done yet. As the No. 15 seed, the Blue Dragons opened the national tournament on Thursday against the No. 2 seed, Iowa Western.
The journey to the national championship hasn’t been an easy ride but it certainly has been a memorable one.

Hutchinson opened the Region 6 tournament against a good Dodge City Community College team, who the Blue Dragons took down 3-0. The semifinals was more of the same, as they breezed by Garden City Community College 3-0. This set up a marquee matchup against the No. 3 team in the country, Seward County Community College – a team Hutchinson lost to only a week previously.

As the underdogs, the Blue Dragons shocked the NJCAA, as they upset the one-loss Saints in three sets, thanks to the efforts of sophomores Paige Hiebert, Tatyana Ndekwe, and Patricia Joseph.

Hutchinson coach Patrick Hall had many positives to say about his team.

“Although Seward had one of their best teams in many years, we definitely played one of our best matches of the season,” Hall said. “Each set was won by two points, so it doesn’t get much closer than that, but we stayed focused, and did what we had to do. It was a great win.”

The Blue Dragons claimed the Region 6 title that night, but their journey is far from over. In just over a week, Hutchinson had to prepare for a talented Iowa Western team, an opponent that was all too familiar. In late September, the two teams met for the first time, a match that ended in a nail-bitter, with Iowa Western winning 3-2.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that the team is looking forward to playing Iowa Western,” Hall said. “Although they have some talented athletes, we’re confident that we can play with teams of that caliber.”

Although the Blue Dragons will be underdogs on their home court, Hall still believes in his team and has many keys to success.

“We need to be a strong inside-out team, meaning we need to establish our middle, so it opens up our outside for scoring opportunities,” Hall said. “Defense is also another big key. We’ve been playing really good defensively lately, and if we can continue that in the tournament, we’ll be able to play with anybody.”

Athlete of the week: Connor Kaufman

Friday, November 10th, 2017

For the week of Oct. 29-Nov. 4

The week: Kaufman, a freshman from Wiggins, Colorado, paced the Blue Dragons at the Jayhawk West and Region 6 Championships on Oct. 30 in Garden City. He finished fifth in the Jayhawk West, finishing the 10-kilometer course in a time of 27 minutes, 18.4 seconds. That was also good enough for 15th in Region 6.

The season: Kaufman will run with the Blue Dragons on Saturday at the NJCAA national meet in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

He’s always in the action: Jackson uses HutchCC to needed opportunity

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

By Lucas Barlow
Sports Editor

Community colleges around the country can be considered an important stepping stone to many athletes.

Whether it’s the low tuition costs, the chance to develop yourself academically, or the ability to improve yourself physically, schools like Hutchinson Community College can help these athletes kickstart their collegiate sports career.

After receiving zero NCAA Division 1 offers, defensive back Storey Jackson chose HutchCC to begin his football journey. The Olathe North product led his team to a 10-2 record and a Kansas 6A semifinal appearance in 2015.

Upon arriving at Hutchinson for his freshman year in 2016, Jackson knew he would get a opportunity to earn a starting position the next season, so he decided to find his role on the special teams.

“My first year was so exciting,” Jackson said. “I knew my chance to get a starting role would come next year, so I balled out on special teams.”

He was added to the kickoff, punt and punt return teams. As a freshman, Jackson had to work hard everyday and impress the coaches, all to make a name for himself.

As he began his sophomore season, Jackson accomplished what he set out to do – earn a starting spot.

“I did such a good job as a freshman on the special team units,” Jackson said, “eventually it got me a starting spot on the defense.”

Jackson has turned into a key player for the Blue Dragon defense as he currently leads the team in tackles (61) and assists (36) through nine games for the 6-3 Blue Dragons.

“My sophomore season has being going great so far,” Jackson said. “I’m blessed to be able to impact the team with my skills.”

Jackson also stated he has an offer from Bethune-Cookman University. More offers could also be on the way for the talented defensive back.

Jackson’s time as a Blue Dragon is coming to an end with only two regular season games left and possibly the Salt City Bowl. However, he does want to give a little advice to any newcomers next year.

“Be sure you make or keep a relationship with God,” Jackson said. “Junior college isn’t easy and it’s not for everybody, but with consistent hard work, you can make it successful.”

Editorial: Student section spirit in the slumps

Friday, October 27th, 2017

HutchCC, as amazing as this school and its athletics are, has a student spirit problem.

It’s been mentioned around campus and pointed out by various visitors that drop by games expect more hype from the student section.

When asking various students for their input for the campus beat, several students, not included in this week’s edition, had absolutely no clue that HutchCC even had a homecoming.

At games, the pep band does a great job with cheering, screaming and supporting the team, but the student section lacks that same school spirit.

Maybe if the pep band was moved closer to the students and was no longer outcasted to the very outskirts of the bleachers. That way, peppiness would spread to the rest of the students in attendance.

A large portion of HutchCC’s students aren’t even on campus to share in the school spirit, but that doesn’t leave those who do show up to games with an excuse to not make the bleachers shake beneath their feet with chants and cheers.
What happened to the pep sections seen at high school games? Did that spirit die when everyone left and came to college? Are students scared to show rowdiness amongst their peers now?

On a flip side of the coin, the cheerleaders and Dragon Dolls have amazing school spirit. Those gals and guys spend game after game cheering to the crowd and team all while facing the cold that is inevitable with games continuing later into the year.

Hopefully students start getting more pride for HutchCC during basketball season, because the volleyball players have been a bit disappointed in the turnout of their recent home games. When they hear cheering of the crowd it motivates them, so it’s important to show team spirit.

Athlete of the week: Otis Williams

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Athlete of the week, Oct. 8-14
Otis Williams, football

The week: Williams, a sophomore RB from Tampa, Florida, had a breakout game Saturday at Ellsworth, Iowa. After mustering just 178 yards in the first six games of the seaosn, Williams rushed for 122 yards on 12 carries in helping Hutchinson beat Ellsworth 25-13. Although he didn’t score a touchdown, those 122 yards amounted to more than a third of Hutchinson’s offense.
The season: Williams has rushed for 300 yards and two touchdowns. He has also caught three passes this season for the 6-1 Blue Dragons.