Blinn, KC early picks at SWJCFC Media Day

Blinn, KC early picks at SWJCFC Media Day

By MIKE MONTFORT  —

LINDALE — Southwest Junior College Football Coaches believe they play in the NJCAA’s toughest conference, but believe the league is in need of a national championship to break a 10-year drought and re-establish its strength.

Not since Navarro won the 2010 NJCAA Championship in the Citizens Bank Bowl game at Pittsburg, Ks., has an SWJCFC team played for the title.

Parity has set in for the eight-team league.  For two seasons now, all eight found themselves battling for the four post-season positions in the final week of regular seasons.  Heading into the final set of regular-season games last year, there was an outside possibility of a five-way tie.

Polls issued Friday during Media Day at Garden Valley Golf Resort suggest the balance of power may be another tug-of-war.

Coaches and media agreed that coach Ryan Mahon’s Blinn Buccaneers were the favorites, but some polling indicators suggest the matter may be up for debate.

In the coaches poll, four teams received first-place votes.   Reigning league champion Kilgore, led by first-year head coach Willie Gooden, was picked second overall, despite receiving five first-place ballots.  Six voting points separated Blinn, Kilgore and third-place NEO.  Five points separated Tyler, TVCC and Navarro for the fourth- through sixth-place slots.  Five teams, including three 2018 semifinalists, received at least one eighth-place vote.

In the media poll, Blinn and KC combined to draw all the first-place votes.  Between third and sixth, a total of 11 voting points separate NEO, Navarro, TVCC and Tyler.

The league features three first-year head coaches:  Gooden, Navarro’s Scott Parr and Tyler’s Thomas Rocco — all with first-hand experience and knowledge as long-time SWJCFC assistants.

The 2019 season begins Thursday, August 22, when Navarro travels to Davenport Field in Milledgeville, Ga., for the 21st Battle of The Bulldogs matchup against Georgia Military.