An outright Jayhawk Conference football championship is on the line on Saturday when the No. 18 Hutchinson Community College football team travels to No. 8 Butler for a 6 p.m. kickoff at B&G Products Stadium in El Dorado.
The Blue Dragons (6-2 overall) and Grizzlies (6-1) both enter Saturday’s battle tied atop the Jayhawk Conference standings with 5-1 records. A Hutchinson victory would give the Blue Dragons their seventh conference championship in team history and first since 1995. A Butler victory would mean a fourth-straight and 21st overall conference crown.
This will be the fourth-straight regular-season meeting between HCC and Butler with the Jayhawk Championship squarely on the line.
Hutchinson comes into the game riding the wave of a four-game winning streak – only eight other schools in the NJCAA can currently boast that fact – and riding the momentum of pulling off the biggest comeback in HCC football history, rallying from 22-points down against Fort Scott last week to defeating the Greyhounds 63-39 at Gowans Stadium.
Since being upset by Highland 23-21 on Sept. 21 at B&G Products Stadium, the Grizzlies have played just two games over the past five weeks. Butler easily handled Coffeyville last week 53-7 at Coffeyville.
In addition to trying to win the program’s first conference championship in 18 seasons, the Blue Dragons will try to snap a 21-game losing streak to the Grizzlies. HCC’s last victory over Butler came in 1997, a 17-7 victory at El Dorado’s old Galen Blackmore Stadium.
Game 9: Hutchinson at Butler When: Saturday, October 26, 2013 Kickoff: 6 p.m. At: El Dorado, KS Stadium: B&G Products Stadium Capacity: 6,000 Surface: FieldTurf Radio: KHUT-FM (102.9); KWBW-AM (1450), 5:50 p.m. Internet: Blue Dragon Sports Network (www.bluedragonsports.com)
Blue Dragons Record: 6-2 (5-1) NJCAA Ranking: No. 18 Last Game: Def. Fort Scott 63-39 Coach: Rion Rhoades, 7th season
Grizzlies Record: 6-1 (5-1) NJCAA Ranking: No. 8 Last Game: Def. Coffeyville 53-6 Coach: Troy Morrell, 14th season
The Coaches Hutchinson: Rion Rhoades is in his seventh season with the Blue Dragons. He has a 50-25 record at HCC and 57-30 in his eighth season as a head coach.
Butler: Troy Morrell is in his 14th season with the Grizzlies. He has built a 143-18 record at Butler.
Region VI Playoff Scenarios The four teams – Hutchinson, Butler, Dodge City and Highland – have already been determined for the 2013 and final Region VI Playoffs. The seeding order will be completed on Saturday, the final weekend of the regular season.
The Hutchinson-Butler winner will win the 2013 Jayhawk Conference title outright and earn the No. 1 Region VI seed. The HCC-Butler loser could fall into a three-way tie for second if Highland defeats Independence as expected.
If Hutch loses and Highland wins, the Dragons, Scotties and Dodge City will all be tied with 5-2 records. Dodge City wins the first tie-breaker because the Conquistadors have wins over both Hutch and Highland. Hutchinson would be the third seed because of its head-to-head victory over Highland on Sept. 28, thus making Highland the fourth seed. In that scenario, Highland would play at Butler and Hutchinson would travel to Dodge City on Feb. 3.
If Butler loses to HCC and Highland defeats Indy as expected, the Grizzlies, Scotties and Conquistadors are tied at 5-2. All three of those teams are 1-1 against each other, so the next tie breaker is how each team did against the rest of the league starting at the top. In this scenario, Dodge City would be the second seed based on its victory over Hutchinson. Highland defeated Butler on Sept. 21, which means Highland is the third seed and Butler is the No. 4 seed. Those matchups would have Butler traveling to Gowans Stadium to play the Blue Dragons for the second-straight week and Highland would play at Dodge City.
If Independence upsets Highland on Saturday and Hutchinson wins, the seeding order would be 1-Hutchinson; 2-Butler; 3-Dodge City; 4-Highland.
If Independence upsets Highland at Butler wins, the order would be 1-Butler; 2-Dodge City; 3-Hutchinson; 4-Highland.
Series History vs. Butler This will be the 89th meeting all-time between Hutchinson and Butler in a series that dates back to 1929.
The Blue Dragons own a slim 44-43-1 all-time record over the Grizzlies. Butler has won the last 21-straight games with the Blue Dragons.
HCC is 23-17-1 vs. Butler in games played in Hutchinson. Butler leads 25-21 in games played in El Dorado, including 1-0 vs. the Blue Dragons at B&G Products Stadium.
Butler has a 6-2 advantage in the Region VI Playoffs.
Noting The Blue Dragons + Injuries are starting to take their toll on the Blue Dragons with seven starters out because of injury and another four listed as doubtful.
+ Through seven games, the Blue Dragons are second in the Jayhawk Conference in scoring at 41.9 points per game. HCC ranks fourth in the league in rushing offense (160.1 ypg), third in passing offense (228.8 ypg) and fifth in total offense (388.9 ypg).
+ With the absence of sophomore quarterback Luke Barnes and his 14 Blue Dragon passing records, freshman Frankie Seurer steps in to run the Blue Dragon offense. Over the last three games, Seurer has gotten plenty of snaps to prepare him for his new role as a starting QB. Seurer has completed 27 of 46 passes for 380 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Last week, Seurer helped lead the biggest comeback in Blue Dragon history by accounting for five touchdowns and throwing for 234 yards on 14 completions.
+ Freshman Chris Murray, who owns a school-record 13 receptions against Highland for a career-high 207 receiving yards, leads the Blue Dragons with 40 receptions, 537 yards and eight touchdowns. Jabril Soloman has 496 receiving yards on 26 receptions and five touchdowns. Out of the backfield, Mike Blakely has 21 catches for 192 yards.
+ The Blue Dragon running game has improved dramatically, going for 200 or more yards in two straight and 3 of the last 5 games. Freshman Chase Abbington had a career-high 119 yards vs. Fort Scott, leads HCC on the ground with 475 yards on 93 carries and seven TDs. The Blue Dragons are averaging 4.1 yards with 20 rushing touchdowns.
+ Defensively, the Blue Dragons have been up and down. Through eighth games, HCC is third in the KJCCC in defensive scoring average at 22.2 points per game allowed. HCC ranks third in total defense at 271.1 yards allowed per game. HCC is second in rushing defense (100.8 ypg) and fourth in passing defense (170.4 ypg).
+ The Blue Dragons have forced 25 takeaways (17 interceptions, 8 fumbles) this season. The 17 interceptions are ranked sixth nationally.
+ Sophomore transfer Jaylon Myers leads the NJCAA in interceptions with eight. He tied a school record for three picks against Coffeyville on Aug. 24 and had two picks against Highland on Sept. 28. Myers will not be available for the Butler game because of injury.
+ HCC’s defense has 20 quarterback sacks. Freshman defensive end Marquavius Lewis leads the Blue Dragons with 4.5 sacks. Freshman Jeremiah Ledbetter has 4.0 sacks.
+ Sophomore linebacker Brock Long has a team-high 70 tackles. He comes off a career-high 16 tackles against Fort Scott last week. Marquavius Lewis is second with 43 tackles. Sophomore cornerback Christian Goodlett is third with 42 tackles. He tied a school record with six passes broken up against Coffeyville on Aug. 24.
+ Freshman kicker Ryan Weese continued his strong start. Weese 9 of 10 on field goals, making nine straight to start the season. Weese’s season high is 38 yards against Highland on Sept. 28. He is 38 of 41 on extra-point tries. Weese has also been strong on kickoffs with 13 touchbacks and an opponent’s starting average of its own 25-yard line.
+ HCC’s return teams have been strong. HCC’s kickoff returns have averaged a league-leading 25.4 yards per attempt with nine going for 30 yards or better. HCC’s punt return team is averaging 15.6 yards per return. Chris Murray has a 78-yard return for a touchdown this season and Mike Blakely has a 57-yard return for a score.
Noting Butler + Defensively, the Grizzlies continue to set a very strong pace in the Jayhawk Conference in 2013. Butler has allowed just 10 touchdowns all season and are allowing a league-low 10.4 points per game. The Grizzlies are third in the NJCAA in scoring defense. Butler ranks first in the KJCCC and fifth in the NJCAA in team defense at 223.9 yards per game. The Grizzlies have the second-best rush defense in the country at 62.3 yards per game. They rank third in the Jayhawk in pass defense at 161.6 yards per game.
+ Butler leads the Jayhawk Conference in scoring offense at 44.0 points per game. The Grizzlies are second in total offense (419.1 ypg), third in rushing offense (173.7 ypg) and second in pass offense (245.4 ypg).
+ Quarterback Hunter Vaughn is third in the Jayhawk Conference in passing at 214.1 yards per game. He is completing 62.9 percent of his passes (110 of 175) with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. Vaughn has thrown for 1,499 yards.
+ Two Butler running backs reside in the Jayhawk Conference top 10. Ty Suggs is sixth in the league with 392 yards on 97 attempts and three touchdowns. Suggs has three rushing TDS. Chris Carson has 65 rushing attempts for 345 yards, which ranks seventh in the KJCCC. Carson has seven rushing TDs.
+ Michael Glatczak and Trey Hallman have 21 receptions each to lead the Grizzlies in that category. Glatczak has 277 receiving yards with three touchdowns. Hallman has racked up 241 receiving yards and four scores.
+ Butler plays tremendous team defense with nine players in on 30 or more tackles this season. The Grizzlies have totaled and Jayhawk Conference-best 37 quarterback sacks and 59 tackles for loss. Butler has forced 20 takeaways and is a plus-5 in turnover margin.
+ The top four quarterback sack leaders in the Jayhawk Conference all reside in El Dorado. T.J. Fuller has a league-best six sacks, followed by Owen Williams and Phillip Williamson with 5.5 sacks each and Gabe Luna with 4.5 sacks.
+ Tyler Hayes and Nick Cook lead the Grizzlies with 50 tackles apiece. Williamson and Brandon Dozier have 48 tackles each and Fuller has 43 tackles.
+ Shedrick Williams leads the Grizzlies with three interceptions. Hayes has two picks. Antwan Hadley has a team-high seven passes broken up and Williams has six.
+ Placekicker Robert Rawlings has connected on 6 of 9 field goals this season. His long is 30 yards. He is 5 of 5 29 yards or closer and just 1-4 from 30 yards or longer. Rawlings is 38 of 39 on extra-point tries.
+ Punter Ty Suggs is eighth in the nation at 41.1 yards per punt on 34 attempts. He has a long of 71 yards and five touchdowns.
+ Grizzly special teams have blocked two kicks/punts this season. They have yet to run a kick or punt return back for a touchdown. Butler averages 21.3 yards per kickoff return and 7.4 yards per punt return.
(HCC Sports Information)
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