BHRA’s McConkey leading Blue Devils after almost quitting football


BISMARCK (WCIA) — Avery McConkey has been under center for Bismarck-Henning-Rossville-Alvin since the end of his sophomore year but he almost never put on the uniform at all.

“Official practice was about to start then that’s when it kind of happened,” McConkey said. “I started over thinking about it and started thinking, ‘Can I actually do this? Am I good enough to do this?'” I was scared of failure really, is what it was.”

That was back in 2016, the summer before his freshman year. McConkey stopped going to workouts and practice for two weeks until school started, and he remembered a conversation he had with Blue Devils head coach Mark Dodd over the summer.

“He (Dodd) was like, ‘This is totally up to you, I’m not going to pressure you into this but I see something in you that you might not even see for yourself’ and I didn’t. That’s exactly what it was.”

“Just a smart, talented kid,” Dodd said. “I saw him play a little bit of youth football and we just want good kids in our program and he’s definitely one of those.”

McConkey stuck with it and has been a part of 29 wins in his high school career so far. He’s thrown for nearly 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, adding two more on the ground.

“Starting a couple game my sophomore year, all last year, all of this year, it’s great,” McConkey said about his high school football career. “Football has changed me, that’s what it is. I don’t know where I’d be without them and these coaches and what I’ve built for myself with football. The reason I came back I think is mainly because they needed a leader and that’s what I had to be at the time and that’s what I have to be now.”

He’s led the Blue Devils to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons, but each time BHRA has been knocked out in the second round. They’re off to a 5-1 start this year and the top spot in the Vermilion Valley conference heading into a showdown with Oakwood in the Friday Football Fever Spotlight Game of the week.

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