CONWAY SPRINGS HIGH SCHOOL, KS
The 13-0, 1998 Class 3A State Champions.
By Matt Shepard
Published: Summer 1999
When Mark Bliss took over as the head football coach at Conway Springs High School in Conway Springs, Kansas the team had only won one game in seven years. Coach Bliss recalls, “It was obvious they were lacking a solid weight program and most coaches will tell you that to be successful at any level you must have a strength program to allow you to excel.” Coach Bliss quickly went to work and established a weight training program that utilized many BFS principles as well as some of his own philosophies. The athletes really took to the program and changes occurred rapidly.
They ended their first football season after implementing the weight program with a record of 11-1 losing to the perennial power, Smith Center, in the state semi-finals. About the semi-finals Coach Bliss states, “It gave us a good taste of what it feels like to play in front of 6,000 to 7,000 people.” The fire had been started and nothing was going to stop the burning. They continued hard in the weight room with visions of the next years state championship in the backs of their minds and they new they had to work harder than ever to achieve this dream.
Once the new season started, no one could stop them. The Conway Springs Cardinals again pounded their opponent during the regular season and went undefeated. Then, the test of their true dominance came when they again faced Smith Center H.S. The game was tough and turned into an intense defensive battle. The game, however, ended this time with a shocked Smith Center as Conway Springs edged them out 9-7.
Conway Springs continued on to win the Championship game and in recollection of the season Coach Bliss praised, “We went 13-0 and were crowned the 1998 Class 3A State Champions. The first state championship in the school’s history. This group worked harder than any other group I have ever worked with.” Coach Bliss and his team have definitely discovered what it takes to be winners.