Breaking down the Region VI title game: No. 5 Hutch at No. 1 Butler

TROY MORRELL (CENTER) IN 2006

TROY MORRELL (CENTER) IN 2006

I had a couple of great conversations Friday with Butler coach Troy Morrell and former Garden City coach Bob Larson about past Region VI title games, which was a nice follow-up after getting to talk with Hutchinson coach Rion Rhoades and star wideout Cordarelle Patterson earlier this week. This is Morrell’s 10th Region VI title game as head coach, and he had some great stories. That’s for the advance coming out on Saturday.

This one breaks down pretty simply for Butler: Win and you’re playing for the national title. Likely in the Citizens Bank Bowl at Pittsburg on Dec. 6, where Cam Newton won it all for Blinn last year. Morrell, who lost a national title game in 2004 to Pearl River at Coffeyville, said that playing for a title in Pittsburg would be a “dream come true” – one that Hutchinson can stake a claim to, also.

WHAT’S AT STAKE TODAY

FOR BUTLER: If the Grizzlies win, they will likely play for the national title on Dec. 6 in the Citizens Bank Bowl at Pittsburg. Morrell has already won three championships (2003, 2007, 2008) and finished as runner-up twice (2001, 2004).

FOR HUTCHINSON: The Blue Dragons probably learned a lot from their 28-0 loss to Butler three weeks ago. It may just have been that they can’t beat Butler. Guaranteed a bowl game, they have an outside shot at playing for the national title if they can pull off the upset.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

BUTLER: Running back Ben Axon was the key in wins over then-No. 3 Coffeyville and then-No. 2 Hutch in the regular season by getting 30+ carries, but he was a non-factor in last week’s semifinal win over Coffeyville. If they can establish run early, then Zach Mettenberger can start looking for Marcus Kennard.

HUTCHINSON: Blue Dragons need RB/QB Angelo Pease, QB Elliott Alford and WR Cordarelle Patterson, along with the defense, to have their best game of the year. Simultaneously.

Jeff Lutz will be at the game on Sunday covering this one – say hi if you see him. And be nice to each other. And read The Eagle. And eat your Wheaties.

I’m out.

-TA