8 Man Football providing new opportunities to small schools
BATON ROUGE -Before Quincy Ellis' senior year, football at Family Christian seemed like a dream.
"We've been wanting football since the 8th grade, 9th grade," Ellis said. "We talked about it, talked about it. Pushed the administration. Pushing, pushing, pushing."
Then came Steve Douglas, who helped that dream become a reality with the help of proper resources and participants.
"It just seemed like a lot of the kids we were having were fit for football." Douglas explained. "It was excitement all throughout. Gabe Swaggart was excited at our church, the administration. A lot of the students reacted well."
But this isn't your average football. This is eight man football, creating more space on the field, and allowing for a high scoring, uptempo game."Basically you're trying to catch up to the offense," Douglas said. "Everything is changing and adjusting. Got three less guys on defense, so that opens the field up, allows for outside stuff, allows for them to match up one on one."
"You definitely have to wrap up now," added Family Christian senior linebacker Michael Hopkins. "There's a lot more open field. If you miss your tackle, it's a long game ahead of you."
The LHSAA has already passed a proposal to begin 8 man football in 2015 for teams in Class B and C, as long as they can get 16 teams to sign up. Even smaller teams like East Iberville are considering dropping down in class to be apart of a level playing field.
John Young, the East Iberville head coach, has fielded a team of about 15-20 players this year. Moving down to Class C could mean many benefits for his squad.
"8 man football would allow us to have a little bit more success and it will allow for less of a toll for someone's body." Young said. "It's a lot of our kids play 2, 3, 4 sports."
While Family Christian seniors like Ellis may not get to be apart of the official 8 man football launch, just putting on the pads has made him feel like a superhero.
"Man this was my first year playing football. I felt like Superman, Ironman or something. We coming out hard. We looking to hit people. I never experienced nothing like this. It's amazing, I wish I would've been started this."