A Wisconsin high school football game was host to a touching tribute when both teams came together to honor a fallen teammate, taking offsetting penalties in the process.
As reported by twin cities Fox affiliate KMSP, a season opening game between Chetek-Weyerhaeuser (Wis.) and Elk Mound (Wis.) had its opening act serve as a powerful tribute to the late Owen Knutson, a Chetek player who died in a tragic Cessna plane crash just months before he was to start his senior year at the school … and his senior season on the football field.
Knutson was scheduled to be Chetek-Weyerhaueser’s starting middle linebacker, so his former Chetek teammates started the game by fielding only 10 players and carrying his jersey out to his traditional position on the field. Both teams then took a knee in the direction of their respective sidelines to pay homage to the former star defender.
Chetek was flagged for illegal formation for only fielding the 10 players, but Elk Mound reciprocated by willingly accepting a delay of game penalty, pushing the starting point right back to the original line of scrimmage. Elk Mound then capped the series of tributes by taking off their helmets and taking a brief knee before popping back up and getting the game started.
You can see the sequence play out in the video above.
Perhaps it was always fated that Chetek-Weyerhaueser would come out on top in the first game after Knutson’s death, and so it proved, a 20-6 victory capping a stirring night in his honor. Still, while few may remember the final score years from now, even fewer are likely to forget the first sequence from both teams.