DRAGONS CLOSE AT NO. 8 IN NJCAA FOOTBALL RANKINGS

The 2018 Blue Dragon Football Team finishes No. 8 in the final NJCAA Rankings after a 35-6 Salt City Bowl victory over Navarro on Saturday at Gowans Stadium. (Bre Rogers/Blue Dragon Sports Information)
The 2018 Blue Dragon Football Team finishes No. 8 in the final NJCAA Rankings after a 35-6 Salt City Bowl victory over Navarro on Saturday at Gowans Stadium. (Bre Rogers/Blue Dragon Sports Information)
Information Box

FINAL 2018 NJCAA FOOTBALL RANKINGS

  Record Points Last Poll

  1. East Mississippi (17)
  2. Garden City
  3. Iowa Western
  4. Kilgore
  5. Jones
  6. Lackawanna
  7. Northwest Mississippi
  8. Hutchinson
  9. Snow
10. Eastern Arizona
11. Butler
12. Mississippi Gulf Coast
13. Iowa Central
14. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M             
15. Blinn
16. Monroe College
17. Highland
18. Copiah-Lincoln
19. Scottsdale
20. Nassau

12-0
10-1
10-1
10-2
10-2
11-0
8-2
9-3
8-3
9-3
8-4
7-2
8-4
8-4
7-4
7-2
6-4
6-4
7-4
8-3
370.00
335.42
325.81
290.34
283.53
254.96
232.58
205.83
190.60
179.04
167.18
165.44
158.26
137.70
93.69
71.00
60.79
51.44
43.00
17.00
1
2
3
4
5
6
8
13
9
7
15
11
16
10
RV
12
17
18
14
NR
Others Receiving Votes: Holmes (5-4, 12.9); North Dakota SCS (9-2, 8.0); Arizona Western (6-5, 4.0); Pima (6-4, 1.7); East Central (4-5, 0.9).

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

Fresh off a Salt City Bowl victory on Saturday, the Hutchinson Community College football team earned its first Top 10 final NJCAA ranking in four years on Monday.

The 9-3 and Salt City Bowl champion Blue Dragons was ranked No. 8 in the final NJCAA Rankings released by the national office on Monday. The Dragons snap a three-season drought of finishing out of the final rankings.

The Blue Dragons finish in the Top 10 for the first time since finishing No. 4 after an 11-1 season in 2014.

This is the fourth time in head coach Rion Rhoades' 12-year tenure to finish in the Top 10, and it's the third-highest finish behind No. 4 in 2014 and No. 5 in 2010. This is the eighth time in 12 seasons the Blue Dragons finished as a ranked team under Rhoades.

The Blue Dragons started the season receiving votes in the preseason NJCAA Rankings and climbed as high as No. 4 before back-to-back losses to Garden City and Iowa Central to close the regular season. But Saturday's 35-6 win over Navarro in the Salt City Bowl vaulted the Blue Dragons up five spots to No. 8.

Hutchinson's only three losses this season came against No. 2 Garden City, No. 3 Iowa Western and No. 13 Iowa Central.

Four Jayhawk Conference teams wound up in the final 2018 rankings.

Garden City (10-1) lost 10-9 to East Mississippi in the NJCAA National Championship game last Thursday. Butler (8-4) defeated NEO in the Midwest Bowl on Sunday and finished No. 11. Highland (6-4) closed its season at No. 17.

East Mississippi claimed all 17 first-place votes and won its sixth national championship. Garden City, Iowa Western, Kilgore and Jones rounded out the Top 5. Lackawanna won the Valley of the Sun Bowl and finished sixth with an 11-0 record.