By Ben Short / Sports Editor
The Hutchinson Community College football team has dominated the opposition thus far and are one game left from a perfect regular season.
But this regular-season finale on Saturday means more with it being Iowa Western,
last year’s NJCAA runner-up.
Iowa Western was undefeated and ranked No. 2 last week. Since Saturday’s 23-7 loss to Coffeyville, the Reivers have dropped to No. 4, and another loss might drop them out of the top four and out of the NJCAA semifinals next month.
“I think we all know it’s a big game,” said sophomore running back Dylan Kedzior. “We know they’re playing to keep their chances of making the (national semifinals) alive so they’re gonna give us their best shot. You can feel the energy at practice, in the locker room, and meetings, we all know this game is important. With all that being said, all we need to do is go out there and play like we can and the results will take care of itself.
This game holds a lot of meaning in the current rankings, yes, but also last year Iowa Western got into the playoffs ahead of Hutchinson, who finished fifth in the final regular-season poll. That left a bad taste in the mouths of the Blue Dragons and their fans.
If the Blue Dragons win, they will continue to the NJCAA playoffs as the likely overall No. 1 seed. That would mean the Blue Dragons would host a national semifinal on Dec. 3. A loss doesn’t necessarily drop the Blue Dragons out of the top four, but it could get sticky.
It all starts at 1 p.m. Saturday in Council Bluffs, Iowa.