COUNCIL BLUFFS — The top-ranked Hutchinson Blue Dragons jumped out to a 14-0 lead to boost themselves to a 34-27 win over seventh-ranked Iowa Western.

The Reivers scored 13 points in response to Hutchinson’s fast start, however the Dragons responded by scoring 13 of their own, including a 97-yard kick return to open the second half.

The Reiver offense would make it one-possession game with just under 12 minutes to play, but that’s all the closer the home team would get.

“It’s hard when get an opportunity, but don’t really move the ball,” head coach Scott Strohmeier said. “That is a good team, they are good, and they’re going to do that to a lot of people. They took us out of our run game, and were forcing us to throw it and we couldn’t connect.”

“Our guys didn’t quit that’s the biggest thing I’d say. We could have folded and then they could have beat us by more, but we kept going and at least gave our selves a shot in the end.”

With the Reiver offense going three-and-out in their first two possessions, the team turned to a new quarterback in Shelton Applewhite Jr.

Applewhite Jr. threw for 183 yards on 10 completions. Having your first game in a while be against the top ranked team in junior college football is no easy task though.

“We just got to prepare better so we play better,” Applewhite Jr. said. “We played against a great team, came up short, but just got to get back to work now.”

The defense gave the offense some shots in the end including a red zone fumble recovery with four minute left to play, and a deflected field goal with a minute left.

Though the “dark side” defense showed lots of positives sophomore defensive end Devin Drew knows that 34 for the opponents means the defense has things to work on too as the Reivers go into their bye week.

“We had some times where we played well,” Drew said. “Still, it’s on the team. We got to go look at some film, see where we messed up and where we could have made some more plays. There’s still a lot of season ahead.”

Iowa Western’s next game will be Sept. 21 against currently 10th-ranked Garden City.