High school football is huge, no matter where you go. Big cities and small cities, usually have high turnout to support their local team and sometimes you have special teams that stick out in memory. Knob Noster had two special teams in 1984 and 1994 that are going to be honored today (Aug. 29), during the Knob Noster versus Lighthouse Christian Football game at 7 pm.

I graduated from Knob Noster High School in 1996 and I was proud to support one of those special teams in the 1994 State Runner-Up team, but you could ask a lot of those guys and they would tell you that there was still talk of the 1984 State Champions football team. Both of those teams brought not only Panther pride, but rallied a city of about 2,000 people to attend each and every game.

I remember when I moved to Knob Noster in 1985, there was a sign greeting you at Knob, that proclaimed Knob Noster was the home of the 1984 State Champions. The 1984 Knob Noster Football team was coached by Mike Wutke, who guided the team to a 12-1 record, and defeated Hayti in the State Championship at Arrowhead Stadium by a score of 8-7.

"The 1984 team was an amazing group of young men," said 1984 Head Coach Mike Wutke in a recent conversation. " They truly had the attitude of "never give up" that coaches love! I won't mention names as this was a team, but our all-district quarterback broke his ankle in the semi-final and our all-state running back was injured as well, and was only able to play some defense in the first half and no offense that game. That is what was incredible about this team. On paper they had no chance to win the championship without those two players who were instrumental in helping us make it there. But thankfully, no one told our players they couldn't win, or if they did, they didn't accept it! We mustered just enough offense to score a TD, and the defense preserved an 8-7 lead with 3 amazing goal-line stands in the 4th quarter! How did they do it? Matching up as individuals on paper, it should not have happened. But as a team, they had something special that brought out their best! They did not give up when most would have, and as a result, have some incredible memories 30 years later."

1994 Knob Noster Panthers

The 1994 Knob Noster Panthers had a great run in the state with a record of 9-5, guided by Head Coach Marty Albertson and finished 2nd in the state, but fell to the Odessa Bulldogs at Faurot Field in Columbia in the state championship.

"The 94 team was a great group of young men that played together as a team," said 1994 Head Coach Albertson in a recent interview. "They played hard every play and all four quarters. Great group to coach that had the heart to work hard and never would quit. They left it all on the field and that is why they had great success."

"Knob Noster R-VIII School District is proud to welcome home our 1984 State Football Champions and our 1994 2nd Place State Football Champions during a special tour of KNHS, dinner, and half-time recognition ceremony," said Superintendent Dr. Kristee Lorenz (who was a Social Studies teacher during the 1994 run). " Please join us as we celebrate our Panthers from yesterday and cheer on our Panther Football Team of 2014 during the home football contest with Lighthouse Christian beginning at 7:00 p.m."

These two teams still have their championship banners and footballs proudly displayed at the Knob Noster High School gym and trophy case. Today they'll get a chance to hear their names said and be recognized in front of the Knob Noster faithful. There will be a special tour of the school and barbeque served up at 5 pm for those teams.

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