By Daeton Winebrenner
The top-ranked Hutchinson Community College football team open up NJCAA playoffs at 2 p.m. Saturday against No. 4 East Mississippi.
The Blue Dragons capped off their perfect regular season with a 42-28 victory over Iowa Western.
KJCCC co-Offensive Player of the Year Samari Collier, the quarterback, leads the dominant offense, which averages 39.1 points and 383.5 average total yards per game. The Blue Dragons also have a nation-leading 31 rushing touchdowns.
Anchoring the nation’s No. 1 defense is defensive lineman Daniel Brown who has a nation-leading 17.5 sacks. Safety Ryan Nolan keeps opposing quarterbacks in check with a nation-leading seven interceptions.
The Blue Dragons defense will be crucial come Saturday, as East Mississippi has the nation’s fourth-highest scoring offense and total yards with 38.3 points and 425.5 yards per game.
This will be the Blue Dragons 27th all-time football postseason appearance. This is also their first time playing East Mississippi in program history.
Men’s basketball – The No. 22-ranked men’s basketball team struggled on Sunday against the Colby Trojans, but managed to come out on top 92-81.
The win brings the Blue Dragons to a record of 7-1 and 2-0 in the KJCCC.
The Blue Dragons struggled offensively in the first half, shooting just 38.5 percent and trailing 40-38. They turned on in the second half, shooting 61.3 percent.
JP Ricks and Kamryn Thomas had 13 points each and Dallas Whitney scored 10 points in the second-half surge.
This marks win No. 1,901 for the Blue Dragons. The Blue Dragons hold a record of 56-6 over Colby.
Women’s basketball – The No. 15 women’s basketball team continued their perfect season with a 86-46 win over Colby.
A majority of the Blue Dragons’ offensive production this season has come in the second quarter, and that theme didn’t stop on Sunday, out-scoring the Trojans 28-11.
Hutchinson shot a season-high 52.5 percent of their shots and hit a season-high 12 3-point goals in 23 attempts.
Along with dominating on offense, the Blue Dragons were playing tough defense as well, forcing 26 turnovers.