Dadeville alum Jamauri Chislom and Smiths Station alum Caleb Coleman can call themselves national champions.
Chislom and Coleman’s Hutchinson Community College squad topped Snow College 29-27 in the NCJAA national championship on Saturday. The victory was a dramatic one for the Blue Dragons, who fell behind 21-10 late in the third quarter before storming back for their first national title in program history.
“It feels great, especially because of how much work we put in every day. Being able to bring the first national championship back to Hutch was a big-time blessing,” Coleman said. “Honestly, it was just another game for me. I don’t look at any game differently. I try to play my best every chance I get.”
Coleman, a cornerback, contributed to the Blue Dragons’ defensive effort with one tackle in the victory. HIs play was part of a Hutchinson secondary that gave up some big plays early to Snow College before locking down by only surrendering 239 passing yards while pulling down a pair of interceptions.
Coleman explained the key to Hutchinson’s comeback was the players coming together as one. He chalked up the team’s first-half issues with underestimating Snow College, but after halftime the Blue Dragons understood they had to change the narrative.
“In the second half we came out with more fight and realized this was some of [the players’] last time ever playing together on the same team, so we came together and played Hutch football,” Coleman said. “[The postgame] was a great celebration because we knew how much hard work we put in for the opportunity to get there, and it finally paid off.”
Coleman’s freshman season ends with 20 tackles and three interceptions.
Chislom, meanwhile, explained how special the moment was for him.
The fullback/tight end explained it meant a lot for a great school to give him an opportunity to play football. While it was stressful moving so far from home, he told himself he had to make the most of the opportunity he was given.
Thanks to his persistence, Chislom has a ring coming his way.
“It was a great feeling for me. I’ve never been in a position to win a big game like that,” Chislom said. “Overall, I was proud of myself and my teammates, especially the ones leaving because this is what we’ve worked for since last summer.”
Chislom did not appear in the national title game. Per the team website, he played in one game for the Blue Dragons but did not record any statistics.
Coleman is among the Hutchinson players who are leaving, as he’s committed to play for West Virginia this fall. Coleman spoke highly of his experience as a Blue Dragon while adding that he’s just as excited about settling in with the Mountaineers.
“It means a lot knowing that I was able to come in and play alongside other players that were hungry and had a winning mentality just like me. We did what was expected of us, and it’s a great feeling,” Coleman said. “I’m very excited to get up there to get to work and get to fight for another one at a bigger level.”