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By MN Chapter of the National Football Foundation, 03/19/16, 2:15PM CDT


MINNEAPOLIS, MN – March 19, 2016 - The 1975 Stillwater High School Ponies went 12-0 to win their first state championship. This team that started a trend of success for its school will receive the Murray Warmath Legendary Team Award from the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation. The award will be presented at the 9th Annual Minnesota Football Honors on April 17 at the Hilton Minneapolis.

Stillwater’s 1975 squad beat a formidable opponent in dramatic fashion to claim the title. The Ponies trailed Richfield, considered by many to be Minnesota’s best high school team ever, late in the game. Down 17-13, Stillwater advanced to Richfield’s 5-yard line with just seconds remaining at Parade Stadium.

Down to their last play, fourth and goal on the 4-yard line with six seconds left, the Ponies called a pitch out, halfback pass play. Quarterback Mike Nolan took the snap and pitched to running back Todd Butterfield. Butterfield passed to Bobby De St. Aubin in the end zone before his would-be tacklers could drop him for a loss, and Stillwater had the victory.
The thrills that followed were numerous.  

The bus trip home was escorted by the Police and Fire departments.  Along Highway 36, loyal fans were out in numbers with big signs saying, “Russia is not the only one with a Big Red Army!”  As coach George Thole would later state, “All of the State Championships were huge, but the first one was really special.

The state title completed an undefeated season and ushered in a golden era for head coach George Thole and Ponies football. Over the next quarter century, Stillwater would add three more state crowns and two runner-up finishes. The Ponies set a record with 18 state tournament appearances during that span. They averaged a whopping 9.2 wins per season in 26 years.

The 9th Annual Minnesota Football Honors event is presented by the Minnesota Vikings. College and professional football Hall of Fame inductees are scheduled to attend, and WCCO-TV news personality Frank Vascellaro will return for his ninth year as Master of Ceremonies. The event is open to the public. To register or for additional information about this year’s Minnesota Football Honors, please visit For sponsorship information, please email

About the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation
The Minnesota Chapter of The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a local non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and develop the power of amateur football in developing the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, competitive spirit and academic excellence in Minnesota’s young people. The MN Chapter recognizes legendary football icons, college football Hall of Famers and Minnesota’s top high school and college football scholar athletes. For more information, visit, Facebook or Twitter.

Lindsay Lommel, Event Manager:
MN Chapter of The National Football Foundation