Skip Navigation


One District. Two Football Turnarounds.

Rachel Harden

Rachel Harden

Director of Public Relations

Faded Fields to Championship Glory In Rural Kansas


Separated by a 10-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 24, the 1A St. Mary’s Bears and the 2A Rossville Bulldogs in Kansas’ Kaw Valley USD 321 are storied small football programs.  


The Bears and Bulldogs have always been prized centerpieces of their Kansas communities. Their annual matchups under the lights on fall Friday nights are heated and historic. 


Both teams were also facing a problem.  


The pride and glory of past seasons had faded. Participation was down. Team spirit was lagging.  


District leadership knew they needed a solution. 


They decided to tackle the problem headfirst. One urgent issue: both home fields were hard as concrete. Bare spots pocked surfaces. Coaches’ knees wore out at practice.  


But Kaw Valley is a small district with significant budget limitations.  

Their solution was economy of scale. They combined construction expenses into one bid for two resurfacing projects. Mammoth was thrilled to work through the numbers with district leaders to make it work.  


Crews began construction at both locations in March 2020. The progress of the new fields gave both communities something to be excited about during a difficult time. Cars pulled off the highway, observing progress and taking pictures. Some locals shared how they used to play on the fields, and what a big improvement in safety and comfort the new fields would be. 


 “That was a bright spot. It was pretty special,” Superintendent Kerry Lacock said.   


The 2020 football season on the new fields was special too. Rossville won the 2A state championship. They did it again in 2021, finishing with a perfect 13-0 record.  


Meanwhile, Marysville’s program saw a resurgence of participation and enthusiasm. The possibility of playing on the new field combined with a talented new coach motivated young players to participate in summer weights. The program grew from 20 returning players to 40. More junior high students started participating in their team. The 2022 season saw an 11-2 record and Marysville’s first state championship. 


Mammoth crews got to revisit both fields to remove patches of turf, replacing them with lettering commemorating both team’s state championships.    

The district’s outdoor graduation ceremonies in July 2020 marked the first of many community events-- both organized and informal--on the new fields. 

Superintendent Lacock says the district’s construction investment surpassed hopes.  


“It’s been better than we ever even expected. If the weather is good, someone is on the field all day long. All summer baseball and softball teams take ground balls. Track teams use it for warm up and stretches. When the weather is bad and other fields are muddy, there’s another place to practice everything,” Lacock said. 

St. Mary’s program saw a resurgence of participation and enthusiasm from young athletes.

St. Mary’s program saw a resurgence of participation and enthusiasm from young athletes.

Back to Top