Hutchinson and Garden City picked to share Jayhawk title

The 2021 season kicks off on March 26.

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
2021 preseason coaches' poll

The Hutchinson Blue Dragons and the Garden City Broncbusters are tied atop the league's preseason coaches' predictions after the list was released on Tuesday evening. 

The two were in a three-way tie last season for the second place spot and should be one of the top contenders for the national title once again this season, as both teams spent a majority of the season within the top 10 last year. 

Hutchinson, coming off a 10-2 season with a stunning 29-27 loss to Highland on Oct. 5 and then a 1-point loss to Garden City on Nov. 2 sent them out of the national title hunt. However, under new head coach Drew Dallas, the Blue Dragons will look to continue to where they left off last season under former head coach Rion Rhoades who departed as a positional coach at Arkansas.

Garden City has been a behemoth in the league since Jeff Sims helped bring the program back to national prominence and should once again be vying for the national title this season. 

Garden City would have played Mississippi Gulf Coast last year for the national title if it wasn't for the team picked third in a close vote, the Butler Grizzlies. Then third string quarterback, Nick Davenport came on and led Butler to the 34-27 win. 

Butler, as said was picked third by the coaches' will be once again in the hunt as well. Many summer preseason polls has Hutch-Garden-Butler 1-2-3 in their polls. The toughest conference in the nation, just so happened to have someone finishing third. 

The Grizzlies went 10-3 last season with losses to Hutch (35-27), Independence (48-20) and Iowa Western (23-13). They won the Midwest Classic Bowl and return a bunch of starters heading into the spring season. 

Independence will have a new head coach when it starts it's season in less than three weeks. Coaches still found the talent at Independence to be overwhelmingly the choice for fourth place in the league. Jason Martin steps into replace Kiyoshi Harris, who is not a positional coach at Boise State. Martin has been with Indy for the last five years and is seen as the main and top recruiter for the Pirates in his tenure. 

Expect the Pirates to either garner votes or be ranked when the first preseason poll comes out on March 22. 

Coffeyville under former head coach, Jeff Leiker is picked fifth. Dodge City is sixth after a winless season (0-10) last season.

Fort Scott, under new head coach Carson Hunter, is seventh in the coach's poll. He comes by way of Murray State, a FCS school located in Kentucky. 

Highland rounds out the coach's poll. 

2021 Coaches' Order of Prediction (2019 record)

1. Hutchinson (10-3)

1. Garden City (8-3)

3. Butler (10-3)

4. Independence (8-2)

5. Coffeyville (4-7)

6. Dodge City (0-10)

7. Fort Scott (2-8)

8. Highland (6-4)

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.