Backyard Metropolis Group School Soccer completed second within the Jayhawk Convention

WICHITA – For the second season in a row, Tom Minnick’s troupe narrowly missed a chance to play on the largest stage at Junior College. They hope a return to a normal schedule this fall will help track their first conference championship since 2018. Wednesday was the first step in this process.

Garden City Community College was selected runner-up in the Jayhawk Conference’s annual preseason coach poll, released during Media Day at Riverfront Stadium. Hutchinson has been named a favorite to repeat as league champions.

“We know how good this conference is, so we’re trying to put pressure on our guys right away,” said Minnick. “We’re trying to win a national championship. That’s why I was hired.”

In 2019, the Broncbusters were a little shy about reaching the title pitch. Then, after COVID-19 wiped out the Fall 2020 campaign, Garden City bounced back from a five-week loss to the Blue Dragons and finished second in the conference. This time they are even more hungry.

“We set out to find the best players for the league,” said Minnick. “This league is the SEC of junior college football. It’s tedious and there are good football teams here.”

Garden City has good reason to be optimistic. Despite the almost completely new line-up after the resignation of offensive coordinator Mike Orthmann and the departure of defensive coach Jerry Dominguez, the Broncbusters have a lot of experience on both sides of the ball. The entire offensive line is returning, paving the way for Jordan Ford to win the NJCAA rushing title this spring.

On the flip side, defensive coordinator Aaron Cheatwood has most of his starting unit intact, with defensive end Shemar Pearl, linebacker Cameron Johnson and defensive back Keylon Kennedy back in the mix. Lineman Vaai Seumalo, recently offered by Kansas State, anchors the men up front with defensive tackle Mark Robinson ready to plug the middle.

“The strength of our team will be our offensive,” said Minnick. “We got everyone back, and we’ve also strengthened the line by adding four people who have switched.”

Garden City has been voted into the top 3 of the preseason for the past five years. They open the regular season on September 11th at Fort Scott.

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