By Lucas Barlow
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.