FORT SCOTT (HUTCHINSON CC Athletics) – Hutchinson Community College head coach Rion Rhoades earned his 100th all-time coaching victory where his collegiate coaching career began and his No. 1-ranked Blue Dragons remained unbeaten in 2019.
Top-ranked Hutchinson moved to 4-0 with a 27-7 victory over No. 17 Fort Scott on Saturday night at Frary Field. The Blue Dragons pick up their second-straight victory over a nationally ranked opponent.
Rhoades became the fourth coach in Jayhawk Conference football history to reach 100 wins. He reaches the milestone victory in his 155th game. The first seven wins came as the head coach at Fort Scott in 2006. The next 93 have come with the Blue Dragons.
The Blue Dragons improve to 2-0 in the Jayhawk Conference while sending Fort Scott to its first loss of the season. The Greyhounds are 2-1 overall in the KJCCC.
Defense and special teams made a significant impact Saturday.
The Blue Dragons held Fort Scott to 99 total rushing yards and 56 of those came on one play to end the first quarter. The Blue Dragons held Fort Scott to 174 yards on 62 plays and held the Greyhounds to 0 of 14 on third-down conversions and 0 of 1 on fourth down.
The Dragons racked up eight more quarterback sacks and have 18 in their last two games. Defensive tackle Latrell Bankston had a career-high four sacks.
For the second-straight week, the Blue Dragons had a return for a touchdown. Leading 10-7 in the second quarter, punt returner Mitchell Tinsley made a tough grab of a short punt and took it back 44-yards down the left sideline for a touchdown and a 10-point Blue Dragon lead. Last week, Tiyon Evans earned KJCCC and NJCAA Special Teams of the Week honors with his 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Offensively, the Blue Dragons amassed 311 yards on 82 plays from scrimmage.
The Dragons rushed for 184 yards led by Kendall Cross, who had 78 yards on 16 carries. Quarterback Mark Wright had 50 yards on 13 rushes with a touchdown and Trey Coleman finished with 41 yards on nine carries.
Wright was 13 of 24 passing for 116 yards. Tinsley had four catches for 30 yards and Keon Clary had season highs of four receptions and 20 yards.
The Dragons marched right down the field on their opening drive and took a 7-0 lead on Erin Collins’ 7-yard scoring run to cap off a 44-yard, seven-play scoring drive. After forcing a Fort Scott punt on the next possession, Hutch needed 11 plays to go 63 yards and get a Sebastian Garcia 21-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead with 6:59 remaining in the opening quarter.
With just 1 second remaining on the first quarter block, Fort Scott got its first big play of the game as Greyhound quarterback Carlos Davis ran a draw untouched for a 56-yard touchdown to cut the Blue Dragon lead to 10-7 after one quarter.
Tinsley’s punt return for touchdown at the 7:44 mark of the second quarter was set up by the downed punt of Hutchinson punter Nolan Arrington, who pinned the Greyhounds back at their own 3 and then went three-and-out.
Making his punting debut, Arrington averaged 35.1 yards per punt with three downed inside the Greyhound 20.
Hutch added a 37-yard Garcia field goal with 38 seconds left for a 20-8 lead at halftime.
The Dragons came up with the only points of the second half. Wright’s 7-yard touchdown run capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive that gave Hutchinson a 27-7 lead with 2:46 to play in the third quarter.
Hutchinson has a bye week next Saturday and then will entertain No. 2 Butler at Noon on September 28 at Gowans Stadium.
GAME NOTES – The Blue Dragons are now 24-29 against nationally ranked opponents under Rion Rhoades. … The Dragons are 42-33-1 all-time against Fort Scott and 21-18 at Frary Field. This was Hutch’s fifth-straight win on Fort Scott’s home field. … Mitchell Tinsley’s second-quarter punt return for a touchdown was Hutch’s first since Dante Madden last season. … In the first two games of the season, Hutchinson allowed a combined 304 rushing yards to Ellsworth and Independence. Over the last two games against Iowa Western and Fort Scott, the Dragons have allowed just 144 rushing yards.