By Greta Klein
Gowans Stadium was buzzing with excitement as No. 1 Hutchinson Community College played No. 2 Iowa Western Community College on Saturday afternoon.
Before Saturday’s game, the Blue Dragons were 9-0 with a winning streak of nine while the Reivers were 10-0 with a winning streak of 12.
The Reivers started strong, scoring 13 points in the first quarter and preventing the Blue Dragons from scoring until the final five minutes of the second quarter.
After a slow start during the first quarter, the Blue Dragons battled back after halftime and won 42-28.
“I ain’t gonna lie, we came different this game,” sophomore defensive lineman Daniel Brown said. “Like I don’t know, it’s just last year we basically (are) not the same team, same defense. We’re not the same, none of that. So we came back harder.”
The Blue Dragons had 297 rushing yards compared to the Reivers with only 135 rushing yards.
While this was a big game for both teams, the Blue Dragons have kept their eye on being in the moment.
“They’ve done a good job all year of just separating what our ultimate goal is and what our weekly goal is,” Blue Dragons coach Drew Dallas said. “I don’t expect that to change just because of the point in our season.
Dallas has made it clear that when his team is focused on a common goal, they execute.
“So, if anything, it proves that when we keep that focus, it works and we just got to stay with it and keep the focus on finding ways to win the next game,” Dallas said.
As it gets closer to the NJCAA playoffs, the little things are just as important as anything else.
“Like what (Dallas) said, 1-0 every week,” Brown said. “So all the little stuff that we do, that stuff matters, especially when it comes to game day. So we just get prepared for that and do our thing. That’s what we do.”
The Blue Dragons get to recover from their big win against Iowa Western, regroup and get ready for the playoffs the first weekend of December.
“We look at (having a weekend off) as just another bye week and an opportunity to get some guys healthy,” Dallas said. “But at the end of it, you are worn down and I think it just gives us a chance to rest and recover and keep that mental focus there.”
The Blue Dragons are now 10-0 and await the NJCAA’s semifinal pairings, which will be announced after the final games of the regular season next weekend.