The “orange crush” of November 2007 – Waynesville High School’s Class 5A Football State Championship Team – will return to WHS on Aug. 24 and 25 for a 10th Anniversary Celebration and the public is invited.
In appreciation of their on-going fan support, WHS will host a barbecue for the public and then show footage of the game on Thursday, Aug. 24. On Friday, Aug. 25, the players will be honored at half time of the varsity home football game. (Details below.)
“I remember looking up in the Edward Jones Dome and seeing all of this orange,” said Rick Vernon, retired WHS head football coach, recalling the 2007 championship game. “It was one of the largest crowds I’ve ever seen at the stadium. Thousands came out – even surrounding schools came to see us play. It was all orange and very loud.”
Despite finding it difficult to hear on the turf, Tigers beat Belton 17 to 7 and Vernon maintains that no single outstanding play resulted in the win. 
“From beginning to end, it was consistent play throughout that won the game,” Vernon said. “It was a win made up of four and five-yard gains. It was the entire team working together.”
Looking back, one play from the 2007 season does stand out for the fans and that was the fake punt Vernon called in the semi-final game against Jackson.
“It was awesome,” said Josh Scott, athletics director and the head boys soccer coach at the time. “Jackson was a perennial powerhouse and they were caught off guard on that play. From the stands, that one play changed the game’s momentum for a come-from-behind win of 25 to 14.”
The two-day anniversary celebration begins on Thursday, Aug. 24, with free hamburgers and hot dogs being served to the public from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Waynesville High School cafeteria. Those attending are invited to reminisce, share their photos and meet with players from the championship season. They are also invited to wear their “orange crush” shirts and other tiger gear from the era. At approximately 8 p.m., everyone will be invited to head out to the football field for tours of the current fieldhouse, followed by a video of the state championship game. Individuals are invited to bring blankets onto the field to view the championship game’s film.  
“If you were here in 2007, this anniversary celebration will be a great time to see the game and players again,” Scott said. “For those who were not here at the time, but have heard the stories, it’s time to see for yourself what all the talk is about.”
The 2007 team will be honored during halftime of the first varsity home football game of the season on Friday, Aug. 25.
Members of the 2007 football team are encouraged to contact Rick Vernon via email at or via phone at 573-528-6543 for details and the 2007 cheerleaders should contact Cheryl Vernon at 573-528-8030.