Brown Previews Home Opener Against Blue Dragons
August 31, 2018
INDEPENDENCE, Kan. - Coming off a convincing season opener victory over the Dodge City Conquistadors, the #5 Independence Pirates turn their attention this week to the Hutchinson Blue Dragons who also picked up a victory last week over the Ellsworth Panthers. Both programs defeated their opponents last week by eighteen points, 38-20 Independence and 30-12 for Hutchinson.
"Hutch always has a lot of talent and runs a lot of multiple defenses," coach Jason Brown said. "To match their intensity, we must come out fast, finish strong and accomplish our goals for the season to duplicate our success for another victory."
Last week, the Pirates started Jay Jones at quarterback who was shaken up early in the game. Jones' early exit gave the wheel to backup Chase Hildreth who went 16 for 26 passing, throwing for 201 yards and three touchdowns while also picking up 33 yards rushing on four attempts.
"Jay is recovering still, and his status is still uncertain," Brown said. "If he is unable then Chase will get the nod, with AJ Wright and Z'Khari Blocker there to back him up. All of those guys are more than capable of getting the job done for us this week."
Independence dominated on defense for much of the game against Dodge City, but the temperatures of the environment effected the Pirates late in the game as players began to experience cramps and exhaustion from the intense heat.
"The elements in the game last week were just absolutely unbearable," said Brown. "However, I think that the heat effected Dodge City more than us. We just seemed to be in better shape than them due to our rigorous practices in the offseason this summer and it really showed."
"We just had a few injuries that hurt us late in the game and our backups fell asleep on us, which we hope to have fixed to avoid future blunders throughout the season."
The Pirates totaled 387 yards, while the Blue Dragons combined for 348 yards of total offense last week in their victory. Independence will look for big performances from Jay Jones and Chase Hildreth among others in the passing game based on last week's performance, while on the ground, Shermari Jones led all backs with 40 yards rushing and one touchdown. The Pirates were led through the air by Markiese King who totaled 104 yards and two touchdowns while also picking up 25 yards on kick return for an all-purpose total of 129 yards.
Hutchinson split time in the passing game between Mason Schucker and Brandon George who combined for 158 yards. The Blue Dragons were led in rushing by Erin Collins with 104 yards and their leading receiver was Jaylen Erwin who hauled in 65 yards and one score.
The game this week is the home opener at Shulthis Stadium with kickoff at 7 pm. General admission is $8.00 for adults and $5.00 for grades K-12. Children ages 5 and under get in free along with students who present their ICC ID. Fans can also stream the game at http://www.949kind.com/icc-sports/