Pirates' Comeback Falls Short Against Hutchinson
September 1, 2018
INDEPENDENCE, Kan. - After a dominant victory in week one, the fifth ranked Independence Pirates hosted the Hutchinson Blue Dragons with hopes of continuing their winning ways. The Pirates would fall behind 37-7 at the half and even though AJ Wright, who went 12 for 21 passing for 145 yards and two touchdowns would bring them back along with multiple members of the defense, Independence fell just short, 37-27.
"Hutch came out early tonight and hit us in the mouth," coach Jason Brown said. "I'm proud of the way we battled back in the second half and I thought it showed a lot of character for us as a team."
"I give credit to my players and staff for never backing down and we've got a lot of football left to play. We'll go back to the drawing board and prepare for Garden City in two weeks."
In the first quarter, Corinthian Cunningham gained the first down on a 16 yd dash. Pirates converted a fourth down a few plays later as Cunningham picked up two yards but would turn the ball over on an incomplete pass.
Hutchinson attacked out the gate, picking up a first down on an 11 yard gain from Erin Collins. The Blue Dragons converted a fourth down as Collins plunged forward on a four-yard gain and a couple plays later scored on a 26-yard pass from Mason Schucker to Jaylen Erwin to put Hutchinson ahead 7-0 with 9:01 remaining in the quarter.
Independence began the next drive with a 38-yard pass from Chase Hildreth to Markiese King. Two plays later the pirates scored as Hildreth connected with King again on a 29-yard strike tying the game at 7-7 at the 8:11 mark.
The Blue Dragons continued to feed Collins for success, picking up consecutive first downs along with Dezmon Jackson who sprinted 29 yards for the score, giving Hutchinson their second lead 14-7 with 5:46 remaining in the opening period.
The Pirates went three and out the next drive and the Blue Dragons took over at their own 25-yard line. Hutch gave to Collins again on a third down, but he was cut down by Antonio Wallace forcing a punt to put Independence back in business.
Incompletions continued to haunt the Pirates as another three and out drive prevented any type of forward progress. A 47-yard pass from Schucker to Khalil McClain put Hutchinson at the one-yard line and at the end of the period, the Blue Dragons led 14–7.
The second quarter began with a goal line stand and a 37-yard field goal by Sebastian Garcia pushing the lead to 17-7 with 13:37 left in the first half.
Independence continued to struggle as Hildreth was picked off by Josh Reliford at the 30-yard line, but the defense held strong forcing a fourth down and the field goal by Garcia was no good. The Pirates switched QBs to AJ Wright but even his dual threat ability was shut down by the defense as Independence went three and out once again.
Ricky Williams caught Collins in the backfield for a six-yard loss and Schucker was nearly picked off by Ben Garland but Schucker found Erwin on a 30-yard pass and the Blue Dragons found power running with Jonathan White and a 12-yard touchdown pass to McClain extended the Hutch lead. With the extra point no good, the Blue Dragons led 23-7 with 7:38 left in the half.
Hildreth returned to the game but nothing good happened as the Pirates buried themselves with a snap over the head of punter Adam Barry to give Hutch the ball on the one-yard line and a one-yard score from Collins pushed the lead to 30-7 at the 6:47 mark.
Hildreth found light in the dark with much needed first down passes to Marqwell Odom and Roy Livingstone and strong runs from Cunningham seemed to bring hope but a fourth down incompletion led to another turnover.
Tamarrion Johnson and Kuony Deng stacked up negative yardage on defense and Jermaine Johnson delivered a sack to force a punt, but a play later Hildreth was intercepted by Monty Montgomery who lateraled to Kelvin Clemons who dashed in for a 35-yard score increasing the Hutchinson lead to 37-7 with 2:17 left in the first half and the Blue Dragons held the 30-point advantage at the break.
In the third quarter, the defense made a stand with Kion Holder attacking the ball carrier on third down to force a punt. Cunningham picked up a first down on the next play with an 11-yard dash and strong runs from Wright and Deunte Chatman kept the drive alive.
Wright and King connected down to the 14-yard line and a gallop to the end zone from Wright along with a Ryan Redman extra point cut the Hutch lead down to 37-14 with 9:49 remaining in the period.
The Blue Dragons went back to their run attack with back to back first down runs from Collins and Wright, but the defense held strong on fourth down as Juan Harris slammed Collins down with authority.
The following drive was nothing doing for the Pirates as Wright went down with an injury on a run play. The punt from Barry was fielded at the one-yard line by Juawan Treadwell to push the Hutchinson offense against the wall and the defense held up again forcing a punt from Garcia.
Wright returned to the game and on fourth down found Livingstone for the score from 34 yards out. With the extra point blocked the score was now 37-20 with 35 seconds remaining in the quarter and as the Pirates defense held up, the Hutchinson lead was down to 17 points.
The fourth quarter began with Independence seeming to hold off the attack again, but a screen pass to Collins took the Blue Dragons down to the 12-yard line. The defense held the Blue dragons to a field goal that was wide left, and the score remained 37-20.
The Pirates, in desperate need of a score we're unable to get anything going but the punt by Barry was muffed and recovered by Troy Murray at the 42 yd line giving Independence new life.
The Pirates' attempt to score failed as Redman's field goal was no good and Hutchinson regained possession. Independence fought for another possession and with 3:34 left in the game, Wright found a wide open, Ruben Flowers down the sideline for a 42-yard touchdown reception to cut the lead to 37-27.
The following kickoff was recovered by Sheldon Celestine and Independence had another possession. The Pirates were unable to score on the possession and with neither team able to score throughout the remainder of play, the Pirate comeback was just short.
The Pirates (1-1) have a bye next week, before returning to Shulthis Stadium to take on the Garden City BroncBusters (1-0) on September 15.