BLUE DRAGONS PRESEASON FAVORITE FOR 2019 KJCCC TITLE

Blue Dragon Football Coach Rion Rhoades speaks to the media gathering at Friday's KJCCC Football Media Day in Wichita. The Dragons are the preseason pick to win the Jayhawk in 2019 (Steve Carpenter/Blue Dragon Sports Information)
Blue Dragon Football Coach Rion Rhoades speaks to the media gathering at Friday's KJCCC Football Media Day in Wichita. The Dragons are the preseason pick to win the Jayhawk in 2019 (Steve Carpenter/Blue Dragon Sports Information)
Information Box
2019 KJCCC Football

Preseason Rankings

1. Hutchinson (9-3)
2. Butler (8-4)
3. Garden City (10-1)
4. Highland (6-4)
5. Coffeyville (6-5)
6. Independence (2-9)
7. Dodge City (2-9)
8. Fort Scott (2-8)

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

WICHITA – For the second time in the Rion Rhoades' era, the Hutchinson Community College football team is the preseason favorite to win the Jayhawk Conference championship.

The Jayhawk Conference's preseason coaches' poll was released on Friday at the league's annual Media Day at Newman University's Dugan Library.

In addition to the eight Jayhawk Conference football schools, the three members of the Iowa Conference were in attendance and spoke to the media gathering about the upcoming 2019 season.

The last time the Blue Dragons were the preseason pick to capture the conference was 2015, a year after snapping a 19-year KJCCC title drought.

One year ago, only 18 seconds separated the Blue Dragons from another conference title. The Blue Dragons finished 9-3 overall and 6-1 in the Jayhawk. The only league setback was a 24-21 loss to Garden City. The Dragons finished 2018 in impressive fashion with a 35-6 Salt City Bowl victory over Navarro College.

Eight starters (3 offense, 4 defense, 1 special teams) and 26 total players (13 offense, 12 defense, 1 special teams) return for Rhoades, who begins his 13th season at Hutchinson. Rhoades is 89-48 with the Blue Dragons and 96-53in 14 total seasons as a head coach.

The Blue Dragons open the season on Thursday, August 22 at Ellsworth Community College. The Dragons then open at home on Saturday, August 31st against Independence in a noon kickoff at Gowans Stadium.

The top four teams in the preseason coaches' poll were Hutchinson, Butler (8-4 in 2018), Garden City (10-1) and Highland (6-4). Picks 5 through 8 were Coffeyville (6-5), Independence (2-9), Dodge City (2-9) and Fort Scott (2-8).

The ICCAC had Iowa Western at No. 1, Iowa Central second and Ellsworth third.

There are three new coaches in the Jayhawk for 2019. Kyoshi Harris takes over at Independence, Ricky Coon is new at Dodge City and Thomas Minnick takes over at Garden City.