“Some people kind of question like, ‘Oh, you’re going to 8-man football. What is 8-man football?'” says Flanagan football coach Todd Reed. “Well it’s still the game of football, and that’s the biggest thing.”
Flanagan is one of 16 high school programs who will play 8-man football next year. They will play with two less lineman and one less skill position player. Plus a few other small changes that can make the game more exciting.
“Other than the field being 40 yards wide, that’s one of the biggest changes. Same length on the field,” said Reed. “Any lineman is also eligible for a pass if he’s not covered up. So it’s kind of a fun way to throw some different packages at teams.”
The numbers on each side of the field will change from 11 to 8 players on each side of the field, which is a big change for many schools. But Flanagan is excited for a new challenge coming up this fall.
“Everything is new. New teams, new plays. It’s just going to be different, I guess,” said Flanagan senior Braden Wallace. “No one around us really does it, so it’s cool that we have a chance to do it. Bus rides will be long, but it will be alright.”
“You still have the same concepts, same blocking schemes, same routes,” said Flanagan senior Tyler Harms. “You still need to know the fundamentals.”
8-man serves as an opportunity for many low-enrollment schools to keep playing competitive football. And the players at Flanagan are thankful to be able to keep playing the game they love.
“It’s very cool that we’re just not getting rid of football and we’re keeping it. I think that this will be a nice change of pace,” said Harms. “But I’m very glad that we can still come out here on Friday nights and for homecoming and still have that.”