HUTCHINSON — Each season, the Hutchinson Community College football program goes to work to put together a better product.
Each season, Butler awaits, ready to remind the Blue Dragons of their Jayhawk Conference dominance.
The latest reminder was Saturday’s 40-7 rout by undefeated, No. 2-ranked Butler over Hutchinson, which entered with a No. 13 ranking and one loss on the season.
It was Hutchinson’s 20th consecutive loss to Butler.
“I don’t really know what it is about them,” said Hutchinson running back LaQua Mayes, a Rose Hill product. “I guess they make you play their game. They make you make mistakes and tonight we had four turnovers. You probably can’t beat them with one turnover, so with four we had no chance.”
In front of a raucous crowd, Hutchinson delighted the masses by forcing a Butler three-and-out and then taking a 7-0 lead on a 10-play, 92-yard drive capped by a DeVonte Danzey fumble recovery in the end zone when the ball was jarred loose from tailback Terrell Lane.
“We got punched in the face, but the fight lasts 12 rounds,” Butler linebacker Tommy Sanders said. “We got back to playing ‘Buco’ ball. We handle adversity by holding each other’s hand and going through every play together.”
Butler produced the response fitting of a national-title contender, tying the score on a 20-yard strike from quarterback Billy Cosh to Chris Fields. The defense followed with a safety and the rout was on.
“Sometimes it takes that little wake up call to get guys fully tuned in,” Butler coach Troy Morrell said. “Hutch came out of the gates guns blazing and they were bringing it. I was proud of our guys for sticking in there.”
Untimely turnovers combined with a secondary that couldn’t stop Cosh’s darts across the field sunk Hutchinson by halftime. The Grizzlies held a 26-7 advantage and never was threatened again.
Cosh, who began his career at Kansas State, completed 20 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target, Javess Blue, pulled in eight catches for 149 yards and two of those scores.
“I played for (Kansas State) coach (Bill) Snyder and he always preached about getting better every day,” Cosh said. “That’s what we’re doing. We’re together, as a family. It’s a bunch of selfless people with one common goal.”
A step toward that goal was achieved on Saturday, winning the Jayhawk Conference.
Butler also clinched the No. 1 seed in the Region VI playoffs. Hutchinson will also host a game in the opening round. The teams could meet again in the championship game on Nov. 11.
“We’ll be hungrier,” Mayes promised. “We don’t like losing, especially like this on our home field.”
H—Danzey 0 fumble recovery (Mesh kick)
B—Fields 20 pass from Cosh (Rawlings kick)
B—Blue 25 pass from Cosh (Rawlings kick)
B—Thomas 18 run (Rawlings kick)
B—Rawlings 39 field goal
B—Blue 15 pass from Cosh (Rawlings kick)
B—Allen 2 run (Rawlings kick)
Rushing—Butler, Thomas 31-157, Allen 8-56, Harrison 1-15, Blue 1-13, Suggs 1-4, Team 1-(-1), Cosh 3-(-10); Hutchinson, Lane 16-112, Mayes 18-39, Barnes 3-(-7), Team 1-(-17).
Passing—Butler, Cosh 20-35-0-243, Hurla 1-1-0-42, Harrison 0-3-0-0, Blue 0-1-0-0; Hutchinson, Barnes 23-41-3-202.
Receiving—Butler, Blue 8-149, Fields 6-81, Thomas 2-25, Elliott 1-11, Hallman 2-9, Hurla 1-9, Clarke 1-1; Hutchinson, Stewart 11-97, Johnson 5-50, Cook 3-28, Johns 2-15, Mayes 2-12.