By Bailey Pennycuff / Co-Sports Editor
After the heartbreaking 20-19 loss to the Garden City Broncbusters, the Hutchinson Community College football team recovered immensely against Iowa Central on Saturday.
The Blue Dragons scored 56 points and left the Tritons scoreless.
“Saturday was probably my proudest moment I’ve had with these guys. Just really a good bounce back from a super emotional disappointment,” Blue Dragons coach Rion Rhoades said. “They really took the spirit out of Iowa Central.”
The team was energetic most of the game. However, one play, involving sophomore quarterback Khari Lane and freshman wide receiver Tray Pettway, truly captured their intensity.
“The most juice you saw out of our team was when Khari connected with Tray for the touchdown,” Rhoades said. “They weren’t all excited because it was Tray catching the ball; it was because it was Khari throwing it.”
Not only that, but the defense came out explosive as well.
“Defensively, everything speaks for itself. We created a lot of negative plays – did a good job controlling the line of scrimmage,” Rhoades said.
Recovering from a game like the one against Garden City seems challenging from any athlete’s perspective, yet the Blue Dragons did not let it get them down for long.
“After the loss to Garden City, it was Sunday, Monday, back to business,” freshman linebacker Gereme Spraggins said.
Additionally, the team was able to grow in different ways from the loss.
“I learned we’re definitely more of a brotherhood. We’re playing for each other, and we’re not worried about what happened last week,” Pettway said.
“We just wanted to make this week better, so we came out to practice, worked hard, and ended the week with a win.”
As the season comes closer and closer to the inevitable end, the team has truly been through arduous hardships.
“We have traveled 3,778 miles on road trips this year,” Rhoades said.
Playing on the road is never something an athlete wants, and that amount of miles is significant. Despite the milage hardships, the coaching staff has doubtlessly aided the team immensely.
“It has a lot to do with our staff, not that our staff wasn’t good last year, but we have some guys who just have done such a good job of echoing the message to be internalized by the players,” Rhoades said.
HutchCC’s next appearance will be Saturday, Nov. 7, at Gowans Stadium for the Salt City Bowl against Monroe College.
“The time between now and the bowl game is really important to us, we have some people we want to heal up and things to work on as a team,” Rhoades said.