The 11th-ranked Hutchinson Community College football team ran for more than 300 yards and picked off four passes defensively to defeat the Bethany College Junior Varsity 45-7 on Thursday night at Gowans Stadium to open the 2014 season.
Hutchinson (1-0) won its seventh-straight season opening victory and Blue Dragon head coach Rion Rhoades won his 60th game as a head coach. Starting his ninth season, Rhoades is 60-32 with 53 victories coming at Hutchinson.
The Blue Dragons rolled up 327 rushing yards on 44 attempts against the Swedes. The Dragons nearly had two 100-yard rushers. Running back Alvin Kamara led the strong rushing attack with 111 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns. Travis Custis was at the threshold of a 100-yard game, finishing with 98 yards on 11 carries and a team-best 8.9 yards per carry. Bradan Smith rushed eight times for 51 yards, but scored two touchdowns.
The combined effort of quarterbacks Dalton Demos and Kylen Binn amassed 160 passing yards, completing 17 throws on 32 attempts. Demos completed 12 of 17 passes for 85 yards with a touchdown and interception. Binn was 5 of 15 for 75 yards.
Sophomore Bryce Harvey racked up a career-high nine receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown.
The Blue Dragons totaled 487 total yards. HCC had one turnover, but was tagged for 17 penalties totaling 164 yards.
Defensively, the Blue Dragons picked up right where they left 2013 off with four more interceptions.
Sophomore defensive back Riley Hunsicker scored his first career touchdown with a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown. Darius Wright had his first career interception, as did Chase Hanson and Tyler Williams. The Dragons also had three quarterback sacks.
Bethany did manage to rush for 133 yards and had 115 yards through the pair. Overall, the Blue Dragons had five takeaway against the Swedes. Bethany had a 36:08-23:52 advantage in time of possession.
Special teams also had their moments. Jeremiah Ledbetter blocked a 54-yard field goal attempt, while Blue Dragon place kickers Tymony Bonilla and Kassidy Lemons were 6 of 6 on extra-point attempts and Bonilla knocked through a 21-yard field goal.
Hutchinson took the opening kickoff and crisply marched 75 yards in 12 plays to score the first touchdown of the season. Harvey caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Demos for a 7-0 lead with 11:37 remaining in the first quarter. Braden Smith’s 13-yard touchdown run with 1:44 to play in the first quarter upped the HCC lead to 14-0.
Leading 17-0 in the second quarter. HCC made it a 24-point margin with a Karama 14-yard scoring dash with 4:04 remaining in the first half.
The Blue Dragons out-gained Bethany 296-78 in the opening two quarters.
Hutchinson left no doubt with a 21-point third quarter. Kamara had a second 14-yard touchdown rush with 7:25 to play in the third. On the ensuing kickoff return Cory Turner forced a fumble recovered by DeQuan Bowman at the Swede 32. Five plays later, Smith danced into the end zone from 10 yards out to boost the Dragon margin to 38-0 with 6:13 to play.
Hunsicker’s pick-six with 5:17 to play were the final points of the night for HCC.
Bethany broke the shutout when Ricky Alexander caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Bo Savage with 6:52 to go in the game.
Hutchinson will open play in the Jayhawk Conference next Saturday, Sept. 6 when Fort Scott comes to Gowans Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
GAME NOTES – The Blue Dragons are now 47-34-2 in season openers and 57-24 -2 in home openers. … Under head coach Rion Rhoades, the Blue Dragons are 17-0 when rushing for 300 or more yards in a game. … The Blue Dragons are 2-0 all-time vs. the Bethany JV and 15-2 against NAIA teams. … This was the 34th time in the last 49 games that HCC has scored 40 or more points. ... The Dragons were 6 of 6 in red zone chances (5 touchdowns, 1 field goal). … HCC scored 21 points off Bethany turnovers.