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Monsters to Face Blue Dragons in the Salt City Bowl

The 10th-ranked Hutchinson Community College football team will play host to No. 17 Eastern Arizona College on the second Salt City Bowl. Salt City Bowl chairman Cody Heitschmidt and Blue Dragon football head coach Rion Rhoades made the announcement on Tuesday, pitting two of the best nicknames in all of college football – the Blue Dragons and the Gila Monsters.The 2010 Salt City Bowl will kick off at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4 at Gowans Stadium.

“As a bowl committee, we think about the longevity of the bowl,” said Heitschmidt about the invitation to Eastern Arizona. “It being a success, even in its second year, hinges on a lot do with the excitement of the administration and coaches. You look at someone who is willing to make a commitment on the time frame to get this done.”

The Blue Dragons are 9-2 and finished second in the Jayhawk and were Region VI runner-up for the second time in three seasons. The nine wins represent the most victories since 1995’s Jayhawk Conference championship team. The only losses the Blue Dragons have had are to top-ranked Butler, which will play Navarro College in the Citizen’s Bank Bowl for the NJCAA national championship.

Eastern Arizona is 8-3 and finished third in the Western States Football League with a 6-2 record. Gila Monsters’ head coach John O’Meara has Jayhawk Conference ties. His father, Bob, who is an assistant coach at EAC, was the head coach at Independence in the 1990s.

“This is a great opportunity to play a great team like Hutchinson from a great conference like the Jayhawk,” O’Meara said. “The road to the (national) championship always seems to go through the Jayhawk and that’s no different this year.”This will be the second-straight Salt City Bowl in which the Blue Dragons will play a WSFL opponent. Last season, in the inaugural Salt City Bowl, Hutchinson defeated New Mexico Military 22-14.

Hutchinson will be making its 15th bowl appearance and will be playing its sixth WSFL bowl opponent. Eastern Arizona will be playing in its first NJCAA-sanctioned bowl game. Three years ago, the Gila Monsters went south of the border to play in the Chihuahua Bowl in Chihuahua, Mexico.

The 2010 Salt City Bowl will feature two of the best rushing attacks in the NJCAA.The Blue Dragons are currently ranked 11th in the nation running for an average of 213 yards per game. Eastern Arizona is the top-ranked rushing attack in the nation at 330 yards per game.“Eastern Arizona has obviously had a successful season at 8-3,” Rhoades said. “They are a triple-option team from an offensive standpoint. Because of their coaches knowing the Jayhawk, that’s one of the reasons why they are so excited to be a part of this.”

The Dragons have the three-headed rushing attack of Angelo Pease (868 yards), Jamal Womble (677 yards) and Derek Campbell (567 yards). The three backs have combined for 23 rushing touchdowns.

Rashon Evans is EAC’s top rusher with 840 yards. He ranks 10th in the NJCAA at 93.0 yards per game. Billy McPhaul has 593 yards per game and Cody Van Appen has 553 yards. Those three backs have 20 combined rushing touchdowns.

The Blue Dragons will be one of three Jayhawk Conference teams to play in a 2010 junior college bowl. Butler and Coffeyville are the others. Coffeyville will play in the Graphic Edge Bowl on Sunday against the College of DuPage.

The WSFL has three other teams playing in the postseason on December 4th. #4 Arizona Western will play #16 Blinn College in the C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas Bowl in Copperas Cove, Texas. #13 Snow College will play #6 Iowa Western CC in the Zions Bank Top of the Mountain Bowl in Salt Lake City, UT. #19 Glendale will play #15 Central Lakes College in the Valley of the Sun Bowl in Glendale, AZ.

Article provided by Steve Carpenter

HCC Sports Information Director