By Lucas Barlow
The Hutchinson Collegian

This season marks coach Rion Rhoades’ 11th season for the Hutchinson Community College football team. A former Jayhawk Conference Coach of the Year, Rhoades has built an impressive 73-40 overall record and six Salt City bowl wins over his career.

However, after back to back 5-6 seasons, the Blue Dragons will look to bounce back this season. Although picked fourth in the preseason conference poll, Rhoades has high expectations for his team this year

“I expect us to compete for a conference championship,” Rhoades said.

The Blue Dragons are no stranger to conference champs, as they achieved the honor back in 2014, their first conference title since 1995.

The team returns multiple starters, but the defensive secondary will return most of the experience.

When asked who the key playmakers on the team are, Rhoades replied, “Not really one person. It will take an outstanding team effort to be successful.”

Saturday marks the season opener for the Blue Dragons, as they take on Coffeyville at Gowans Stadium. Kickoff is at noon. On September 16th, the Blue Dragons travel to Garden City, where they will play the Broncbusters, the defending national champions. Then on September 28th, they play Independence Community College, led by Malik Henry, a former Florida State player and former No. 2 high-school QB in the nation.

However, when Rhoades was asked which certain games were the most important, he simply replied, “The next one.”

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