Days before Webb City High School football would win its 13th state championship since 1989, coach John Roderique made one thing clear: Winning, especially the dominating way the Cardinals win, never gets old.

Clearly, it’s fun, and there are so many reasons why it’s become a way of life in their southwest Missouri community. To Roderique, of all the numbers over the years, this one stands out the most: the No. 3. That’s the number of head coaches employed by the Cardinals since 1988.

“I think a lot of our success over the years has to do with continuity,” Roderique said. “We went a long time there, maybe eight or nine years, where we had the same exact coaches. I’ve been there 18 years. Kurt Thompson was there seven years before that.  Coach (Jerry) Kill was there a couple years.”

Webb City is 320-32, including 11 undefeated seasons, since 1988, the year Kill took over and coached two years – including the 1989 undefeated state championship.

Thompson was 73-12 in seven seasons, winning state championships in 1992 and 1993. Roderique is 222-19 in his tenure, including 126-3 and seven state championships (2006, 2008, 2010-2014).

Under Roderique, Webb City had a 91-game win streak until a Sept. 6, 2013 loss against Arkansas Class 7A powerhouse Har-Ber.

However, the Cardinals have not lost to a Missouri school since a 38-13 loss to Kearney in the 2009 state semifinals. Webb City also has not lost a regular-season game to a Missouri school since a midseason loss to Columbia-Hickman in 2003.

Webb City has won by creating big names such as Grant Wistrom and many other college recruits.

Wistrom starred for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and later the St. Louis Rams’ Super Bowl team.

However, many unsung names also played important roles, putting in the work and paying the price in offseason workouts as the Cardinals continually built tradition.

“I think one thing that maybe gets overlooked is just trying to keep everything in perspective in terms of never get too up and never get too down, and keeping all the winning and all of the success in perspective,” said Roderique, whose most recent state championship embodied that motto, as Webb City rallied from a 14-0 deficit to beat Cape Central 48-21 in Class 4.

The turnaround began with Kill, hired away after serving as defensive coordinator under Dennis Franchione at nearby Pittsburg (Kan.) State University, an NCAA Division II powerhouse. Thompson and Roderique were both standout linebackers there.

“They wanted everything to be good,” Kill said. “They wanted the band to be good. They wanted the school to be good. They didn’t put up with any crap, so you knew you weren’t going to have any discipline problems with the way they ran the school.”

Thompson was only 23 when hired to replace Kill and led the way to state championships No. 2 and No. 3.