By Joel Muhs / Staff Writer
The term “undefeated” is one that is coveted across all sports. It signifies dominance, and the Hutchinson Community College football team managed to associate itself with that word after navigating the regular season with a zero in the loss column.
The Blue Dragons captured their seventh Jayhawk Conference championship after defeating Dodge City 70-14 at Gowans Stadium on Sunday, which wrapped up a perfect 7-0 regular season. Sunday’s trouncing of Dodge City marked the second straight week the Blue Dragons dropped 70-plus points, after they dominated Highland 77-7 the prior week.
“Right now, I don’t think anyone can stop us,” freshman quarterback Dylan Liable said in reference to the red-hot Blue Dragon offense. “We got everybody going. I haven’t been touched the last two games. My line has been blocking outstanding, so I don’t see anyone stopping us.”
Liable has starred for HutchCC ever since being inserted into the starting role, after starter CJ Ogbonna exited the Blue Dragons 42-24 victory over Independence with an injury. Liable has completed 23 of 38 of his passes for 630 yards and 11 touchdowns since Ogbonna’s injury.
“Having CJ as the starting quarterback in front of me was just amazing. He’s an amazing guy and he helped me in everything I could do. Every single day in practice both of us tell each other what we did wrong and what we did right,” Liable said.
This marks the third time the Blue Dragons had an undefeated regular season, joining the 1947 and 1969 teams. First-year coach Drew Dallas recognized the importance of the accomplishment.
“Just proud of our guys. We knew 1-0 meant a little more this week. We talked about starting fast and finishing strong and they did that to a T,” Dallas said.
HutchCC is near the end of a long and weary road after COVID-19 has presented its fair share of problems, such as moving the season to the spring, and Dallas praised his players for the perseverance.
“Everything we’ve asked them to do to get up to this point (they’ve done). First game of the season was in Spring, and they were just happy to be playing football,” Dallas said. “Just everything and the adversity they’ve been through up to this point with the (Fall) season getting canceled, the questions surrounding their recruiting and what’s next for them. But they come to work every week and they show up and they don’t let that affect how they approach the game, and it’s rewarding. It’s arguably the most difficult season anybody’s ever going to go through as a coach or player.”
Although it already feels like a storybook ending for the Blue Dragons, there is one more chapter to be written before they publish the book. HutchCC enters the final week of NJCAA play with a bye, but the Blue Dragons have all but locked up their spot in the title game.
“Our guys didn’t take it for granted. They came to work every day and right now they can say they’re Spring 2021 Jayhawk Conference champions,” Dallas said.