FORT SCOTT, Kan. – The 12th-ranked Hutchinson Blue Dragons out-scored the Fort Scott Greyhounds, 22-7, in the final 30 minutes to take home a 37-14 win Saturday afternoon at Frary Field.
With the victory, the Blue Dragons will face the Butler Grizzlies in a “winner-take-all” game for the Jayhawk Conference Championship next weekend.
Going into the match-up , the Greyhounds (3-5, 3-4 KJCCC) knew they would need a great defensive performance to upset the Blue Dragons, and for two quarters it looked like FSCC’s “Dark Side Defense” was going to crumble the Dragons title hopes.
In one of their best performances of the year, the ‘Hounds’ defensive unit held the offensive-minded Dragons to season-lows in points, passing yards, and total offensive yards.
Defensive coordinator Keith Jordan used a blitzing style defense to disrupt the passing prowess of conference passing leading Luke Barnes, limiting him to just 95 yards on 13-of-23 passing while sacking him seven times. Barnes came into the game averaging 355 yards per game through the air with a 65-percent completion ratio.
Hutchinson (7-1, 6-0 KJCCC) scored first when Blue Dragons running back Laqua Mayes scooped up a blocked punt at the Fort Scott 25-yard line and raced untouched for the first score of the day with 10:54 left in the first stanza putting the visitors up 7-0.
Fort Scott tied the game up with 2:45 left in the first when sophomore quarterback Owen Jordan found wide receiver Courtney Ward in the end zone from 11 yards out. Place kicker Mark Whitrock booted the PAT to tie the game 7-7.
Jordan, a Columbus, Kan., product, completed 17 passes for 163 yards but had four interceptions. With his Saturday output, Jordan went over the 1,000-yard passing milestone on the season -- he has 1,107 yards with 10 touchdowns on the season.
Hutchinson’s next score came after a Jordan interception when running back Terrell Lane took a pitch and threw a 22-yard pass to wideout Kody Cook to make the score 13-7 Blue Dragons. The PAT kick by Michael Mesh was blocked by ‘Hound defensive end William Bland to keep it a six-point game.
The Blue Dragons went into the locker room with an eight-point lead when they caught Greyhounds running back Stanley Hagan 3 yards deep in his own end zone for a safety with 4:35 left to make the score 15-7. The safety was set up by a perfectly placed pooch punt that was downed at the Fort Scott 1-yard line.
Lane, the NJCAA rushing leader, took over the second half as he rushed 15 times for 131 yards with a touchdown. Lane finished the game with 219 yards on 29 carries.
The third quarter proved to be a good defensive battle until Lane scored from 3 yards out to make it a 15-0point game. Blue Dragons linebacker Devondre Campbell then came up with a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown by to make it 29-7 with a little more than two minutes left in the period.
The Greyhounds scored with 13:05 left in the game when they went with the exact same halfback pass play that Hutch used earlier in the game. Hagan hit Terrence Hoskins for a 36-yard touchdown play cutting it to a two-score game; Whitrock hit the PAT kick to make it 29-14.
Blue Dragon quarterback Barnes answered by hitting wide receiver Miguel Johns from 13 yards out to finish the scoring and seal the victory for the visitors.
Hagan, coming into the game second in the conference in rushing, had a tough day on the ground --gaining only 41 yards on 21 carries. He did catch four passes for a game-high 76 yards.
St. Louis, Mo., product Ward continues to shine from his receiver spot as he hauled in 7 passes for 42 yards and one touchdown. Ward is the team leader with 27 catches on the season.
Greyhounds linebacker Stephan Martin had a big day. He totaled eight tackles and leads the ‘Hounds with 72 tackles on the season. Tthree of his tackles in the game were behind the line of scrimmage accounting for 22 lost yards. Martin, a Lake Alfred, Fla., sophomore, also had two sacks.
Boise State verbal commitment Justin Taimatuia, a 6-foot-2, 285-pound defensive lineman, had his best game of the season -- harassing the Blue Dragon quarterback all afternoon and sacking Barnes twice.
Linebacker Marceice Jackson also added on a sack while also tallying eight tackles.
With the seven sacks they had on Saturday the Greyhounds defensive unit now has a conference-leading 29 quarterback takedowns on the season.
Bland, a 6-6, 250 lbs. freshman from Cincinnati, Ohio, added to his league-leading sacks totals when he was credited with 1.5 sacks on Saturday -- he has 7.5 sacks for the season.
Defensive back Kevin Short added an interception for the Greyhounds and broke the school record for career interceptions, held previously by Coryell Judie and himself. Short has eight picks in his two-year career at The Fort.
Saturday the Greyhounds will finish their 2012 football campaign when they entertain the Buffaloes from Arkansas Baptist College. Game time is set for 1 p.m. at Frary Field.