WICHITA -- Fort Scott Community College's football team -- which opens its season August 25 against Blinn (Texas) at Frary Field -- was picked to finish in fifth place in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College pre-season coaches poll here Friday.
Defending champion Butler, which has won 11 of the last 13 regular-season titles, was the unanimous choice to win the KJCCC once again. Hutchinson was picked to finish second with Coffeyville third and Independence fourth.
The Greyhounds follow with Garden City sixth, Highland seventh and Dodge City bringing up the rear.
FSCC, which finished fifth and missed the Region VI Playoffs last season, will begin its first season under new head coach Curtis Horton with one of three Thursday night battles in the opening weekend KJCCC vs. Southwest Junior College Football Conference series. Horton was offensive coordinator under former head coach Jeff Sims, who left after four seasons to become a recruiting coordinator at Indiana.
Eleven lettermen are set to return for the 'Hounds, eight of those on offense.
Butler, which finished as national runner-up last season after losing to Navarro (Texas) in the Citizens Bank Bowl at Pittsburg, was picked despite the loss of 11 All-Jayhawk Conference players from last season. Head coach Troy Morrell has also won five Region VI titles in the seven seasons that the Region and conference championships have become separate. The Grizzlies finished 11-1 last season.
Hutchinson finished 10-2 last season and won the Salt City Bowl on its home field. Coffeyville began last season 6-0 and was ranked No. 3 in the NJCAA poll before fading down the stretch to finish 6-5. Former head coach Skip Foster has returned to Coffeyville to take on the role of offensive coordinator.
Independence managed to stun conference observers by qualifying for the Region VI Playoffs as the fourth and final team. The Pirates held a 10-point lead over Hutch in the third quarter of the Region VI Semifinals before the Blue Dragons rallied. Indy finished 4-6 under rookie head coach Steve Carson.
Garden City (3-6) has only four starters back for new head coach Jeff Tatum. Highland looks to improve on a 2-7 mark last season. Dodge City was winless last season.
-- Some information for this article was provided by Hutchinson Community College sports information.