The Hutchinson Community College football team was denied its first Jayhawk Conference championship since 1995 by the second-ranked Butler Grizzlies in a 40-7 loss in a battle of the league’s top two teams on Saturday night at Gowans Stadium.
Hutchinson dropped its 20th consecutive game to the Grizzlies by committing a season-high four turnovers. The Blue Dragons had committed only eight turnovers in the first eight games of the season. Quarterback Luke Barnes was intercepted three times and the Blue Dragons fumbled five times, losing just one, but that came as HCC was about to score a touchdown. HCC had three turnovers in a stretch of four first-half possessions.
The Grizzlies (9-0, 7-0 Jayhawk Conference) outgained the Blue Dragons 519-329. The Grizzlies rolled up 234 yards rushing behind Derrick Thomas’ 157 yards on 31 carries and one touchdown. Butler quarterback Billy Cosh was 20 of 35 passing for 243 yards and three touchdowns. Javess Blue had eight catches for 149 yards and a pair of scores.
The Blue Dragons (7-2, 6-1) had their moments. Running back Terrell Lane had his ninth-straight and 10th-career 100-yard game of the season with 112 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. He didn’t play in the second half because of injury.
Lane moved past Mack Herron into second place on Hutchinson’s single-season rushing list with 1,486 yards. He has 1,947 career yards, which ranks fifth on the HCC list.
Lane carried six times during Hutchinson’s game-opening 10-play, 92-yard scoring drive, but the scoring play was a sign of things to come for the Blue Dragons. As Lane was heading into the end zone from the 3-yard line, he fumbled and sophomore offensive lineman Devonty Danzey recovered it for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 9:43 to play in the first quarter.
Barnes completed 23 of 41 for 202 yards and three interceptions. Barnes set a single-season Blue Dragon record with 215 completions, surpassing PJ Peters (1995).
Sophomore receiver Jatavius Stewart had 11 catches for 97 yards, while Antonio Johnson had five receptions for 50 yards. Stewart now has 93 career receptions, which ranks second on the career list. Johnson moved into second on the single-season receptions list with 57.
The Blue Dragons had season lows for points scored and total offense. Hutchinson ran for 127 yards and passed for 202.
After Hutchinson took a 7-0 lead, the Grizzlies responded with a seven-play, 53-yard scoring drive that was capped by Cosh’s 20-yard TD pass to Chris Fields to knot the game at 7-all with 7:05 to play in the opening quarter.
HCC was pinned at the 1-yard line by a Grizzly punt and Lane was caught in the end zone for a safety by Rahmon Swain for a 9-7 Butler lead with 4 minute remaining in the quarter.
After the teams traded punts, the Grizzlies had a short field after a 42-yard punt return to the HCC 25. On the next play, Cosh connected with Blue for a TD strike and a 16-7 lead with 1:29 remaining.
Butler added 10 more points in the second quarter on a Thomas 18-yard scoring run and a Robert Rawlings’ 39-yard field goal to lead 26-7 at halftime.
The Blue Dragons will now meet Coffeyville in the Region VI semifinals at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4 at Gowans Stadium. Tickets for the game go on sale Monday at the Humiston Center in the Sports Arena.
GAME NOTES – Hutchinson’s all-time series with Butler is tied 43-43-1. … Luke Barnes jumped from No. 10 to No. 6 in career passing yards with 2,675 yards. He is now No. 8 in career total offense with 2,678 yards.
(HCC Sports Information)