WICHITA, Kan. - The Butler Community College football team has won an unprecedented eight straight Jayhawk Conference championship, and the league’s coaches expect the Grizzlies to do so again in 2009.
The coaches picked Butler first in their preseason poll, which was revealed Saturday afternoon at the Jayhawk Conference media day event held at the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in Wichita. The Grizzlies were followed by Hutchinson, Fort Scott, Garden City, Coffeyville, Independence, Dodge City and Highland, in respective order.
Butler has 27 letterwinners and five starters back from last year’s team that went 11-1 and won its second straight NJCAA national championship - the sixth in school history. The Grizzlies have not lost a conference game in two years, and Butler coach Troy Morrell is 60-3 in Jayhawk Conference games in his nine years as head coach, including an astonishing 48-1 conference record in the past seven seasons. But Morrell knows that staying on top for a ninth straight year will not be easy.
“It’s harder to stay on top than it is to get here,” Morrell said. “You can’t ever rest, you have to find ways to keep getting better. Smart people know that target keeps getting bigger every year. But it beats the alternative, no question about it.”
Butler will open the 2009 season at 4 p.m. on August 29 against Blinn College in Brenham, Texas. The Grizzlies will play their home opener at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12 against Garden City. That game will be played at Wichita’s Cessna Stadium, where the Grizzlies drew nearly 15,000 fans for their season opener a year ago.