Winfield, Kan. - One hundred years ago, the Southwestern College football team won the college's first-ever football conference championship. The 1913 Kansas Conference Champion team will be recognized at halftime of Saturday's football game against Peru State.
In 1913, the best college football team in Kansas was not located in Lawrence, Manhattan, or Wichita, but rather in Winfield. The 1913 Southwestern College football team posted an undefeated record, including wins over the Kansas Aggies (Kansas State University) and Fairmount (Wichita State University). The team played in an era when the public and private colleges in the state competed against one another. After going through its schedule with no losses and one tie, the team was declared the State Champion and Champions of the Kansas Conference. It was Southwestern's first football championship.
Relatives of the 1913 team have been invited to Saturday's game to take part in the celebration. Two grandsons of the 1913 team captain and all-state fullback, Warren F. Bernstorf, will present Southwestern a photo of the team and a photo of Bernstorf.
"My mother told me about the team and my grandfather when I was a young boy growing up in Winfield," Kendal Frazier, one of Bernstorf's grandsons, said. "Two years ago while cleaning out some old family possessions I found a photo of the team and a photo of my grandfather. I did some research and realized the importance of the 1913 team and its state championship. The team won the first football championship for the college and it happened 100 years ago. My brother John and I offered to have copies of the photos made and give them to the college, and Southwestern graciously accepted."
Southwestern did not play the University of Kansas that year. KU played in the Missouri Valley Conference and won five games and lost three while playing several Kansas and out-of-state colleges. However, Southwestern was able to beat other colleges in the state and out-of-state and, based on the record, was the best college football team in Kansas
Southwestern will host Peru State at 6 p.m. Saturday inside Richard L. Jantz Stadium.
Members of the 1913 Southwestern College football team