COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.– Air Force Prep quarterback Daniel Graves threw for 122 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 87 yards and two more scores as Air Force Prep stunned the third-ranked Hutchinson Community College football team, defeating the Blue Dragons 40-7 victory at Husky Field on the campus of the United StatesAirForceAcademy.
Graves guided an option offense that kept the Blue Dragons off-balance all day long. Prep rolled up 493 total yards, with 371 coming on the ground.
Air Force Prep (2-1) had its largest margin of victory over Hutchinson, scoring the second-most points on the Blue Dragons in the 28-game series between the two schools.
After falling behind 7-0 early in the second quarter, the Blue Dragons (2-1) answered going 66 yards in four plays to tie the game at 7-all on Elliott Alford’s 36-yard touchdown pass to Cordarrelle Patterson.
But instead of grabbing momentum after tying the game, the Blue Dragons saw the Huskies score two touchdowns in the final 5 minutes, 34 seconds of the second half to lead 21-7 at halftime. Prep put the Dragons away with 19 third-quarter points, two touchdowns coming from Graves on option plays.
“From that 7-7 tie and halftime, our defense got a little worn out. We busted some assignments from a defensive standpoint. It’s such a balancing act. You have to sustain some drives on offense and give the defense some rest. And the defense has to get some three-and-outs to get the offense out there. We didn’t have any of that going.”
Hutchinson gave up a season-worst 371 rushing yards, allowing 6.9 yards per carry. Air Force Prep had 122 passing yards. The Huskies held the ball 8 ½ minutes longer than the Blue Dragons, going 7 of 13 on third-down conversions.
HCC had just 104 rushing yards and 204 yards through the air. The Blue Dragons turned the ball over three times and had seven penalties for 90 yards, including three penalties that led to Prep first downs.
Terrell Lane led HCC in rushing with 55 yards on 11 carries. Alford had 28 yards on the ground. Alford completed 17 of 36 passes for 204 yards to reach the 2,000-passing mark.
Patterson caught nine passes for 115 yards and one touchdown. With 70 career receptions, Patterson is now alone in third on the career receptions list. He moved all the way to No. 2 on the career receiving yards list with 1,161 yards.
HCC caught a couple of breaks in the first quarter. Turning the ball over twice in the opening 15 minutes, Prep missed two field goals and the game remained scoreless after the opening quarter.
Prep finally got things rolling and capped a 72-yard, five play drive on McNeal’s 43-yard touchdown run with 12:29 to play in the half.
It didn’t take HCC long to tie the game, covering 66 yards in 1 minute, 13 seconds and tied the game on Patterson’s third touchdown catch of the year from 43 yards out to tie the game at 7-all with 11:12 to play in the quarter.
Prep had the ball for 11 minutes, 34 seconds of the second quarter. HCC thought it had a stop on Prep’s first drive after tying the game. But an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty get the drive alive and the Huskies finished off a 12-play, 80-yard drive with Andrew Ruben catching a 5-yard touchdown pass from Graves for a 14-7 lead with 5:34 to go.
“We didn’t take care of the ball and we didn’t tackle well,” Rhoades said. “We pride ourselves in our ball security and doing the fundamental things right like tackling. I don’t want to make any excuses. We just didn’t get it done.”
HCC got one first down, but was forced to punt on its next possession. Prep overcame a 15-yard penalty and took a 21-7 lead on Aloysious Brown’s 43-yard run with 58 seconds to play in the half.
Prep sealed the game in the third quarter, taking the opening drive of the period 77 yards in four plays, aided by another HCC penalty, and scored on another big play, a 31-yard touchdown run by Francisco Solano-Bloodworth. With 12 minutes to go in the game.
Graves then scored on runs of 21 and 19 yards in the third quarter to lead 40-7 with 3:29 to play.
HCC was stuffed on a fourth-and-1 early in the fourth quarter and held out of the end zone while inside the 10 in the final minute of the game.
The Blue Dragons take on the Highland Scotties at 7 p.m. next Saturday at Gowans Stadium.
GAME NOTES –HCC is 18-10 all-time vs. Air Force Prep and 9-9 inColorado Springs. … Alford now has 2,080 passing yards and he moved into 10th place on the career total yards list with 2,483 yards. … Patterson moved into 10th place on the career scoring list with 100 points.
By Steve Carpenter
HCC Sports Information