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September 22, 2013

Gridiron Memories: The Conway family's brilliant legacy

The Conway clan is synonymous with Haverhill High football.

Pat, Mike and Dan Conway were all All-Scholastics.

“Globe and Herald,” Dan said proudly from his San Diego home, which is only a few miles away from Mike’s home in Rancho Santa Fe.

He said his father, Dan Sr. (HHS ‘35), was an All-Scholastic for the Hillies, too.

“It was a dream come true having your brothers as your heroes,” said Dan, a 1977 graduate who is much younger than Mike (HHS ‘56) and Pat (‘61). “I had a lot to live up to and I knew that every day.”

Dan was more than up to the challenge. He said by the time he graduated he could have gone to virtually any top football program in the country including Notre Dame and USC.

Dan had only recently turned 15 when he played his first game as a sophomore.

“It was against Beverly,” he began. “The pass was behind me. I jumped up and caught it and eluded 4-5 guys. I was shocked I made the play and I think it shocked a lot of the players. (Senior) Ernie Samaras said, ‘There is a party tonight and you can come to it!’”

According to a 1990 story, Dan, who was 6-3, 195 pounds as a senior, scored 37 TDs and 248 points in his career with the Brown and Gold. Both were then third all-time in school history. Recent grad Chance Brady broke most of the school records.

Dan then starred at BC, where he racked up 2,004 career rushing yards and 21 rushing TDs. He’s the last Hillie to earn a 1-A football scholarship.

“I played for Harry Mac (McNamara) as a freshman and he was fantastic,” said Conway, who signed a free agent contract with the Buffalo Bills but a serious eye injury ended his NFL hopes. “All the coaches were: Joe Carven, Otto (John Ottaviani), Dick Maguire, Joe Hart. It was so much fun playing for them.”

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