Thursday, October 22, 2009

6 & 8-Man Football in America

by Jeff Fisher
High School Football America

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that gets my blood flowing! Like six and eight-man football in America.

It all began in November, 2007 when I wrote about a great site I found called Small Town High School Football. Photographer Morgan Tyree from Wyoming mans the site called Morgan has some great photography and stories about six and eight-man high school football teams in Wyoming and Montana.

While combing through his site and his photos, it really piqued my interest in these two forms of football that I wasn't very familiar with.

Then over the last couple of weeks, the fire was re-ignited while researching Shattuck High School in Oklahoma. If the Indians win Friday's game against Sharon-Mutual they will tie the national record for consecutive wins (90) by an 8-man team. The record is currently held by Morrison High, also from Oklahoma.

So, with all that being said, I thought I'd take some time today to educate my readers on the things that I've learned about six and eight-man football, because I'm sure it's foreign to most of you. And, by-the-way, some states like Minnesota and North and South Dakota play 9-man games.

The birthday place of both the six and eight-man games is Nebraska. According to my research, Chester High School football coach Stephen Epler created the six-man game in 1934 as an alternative way for smaller high schools to play the game. I couldn't find an exact date for the creation of the first 8-man game.

The National Federation of High School Associations has established that the 8-man field dimensions are 100-yards long by 40-yards wide, which is 13 and 1/3 yards less than an 11-man field. It should be noted that individual state associations can adopt their own field dimensions. For example, Nebraska reduces the field to 80 yards in length. The six-man game is also played on a field 80 X 40.

The reduction from eleven players to eight is achieved by removing two tackles and a skilled position on offense and subtracting two defensive backs and a defensive lineman on defense. Offensively, the backfield must have a quarterback and at least two running backs, while the line is a center and two guards.

Nebraska is the state with the most 8-man teams with 118, which are broken into two divisions D1 and D2.

Texas is the big state when it comes to the 6-Man game. In fact, here's a great story from the Houston Chronicle on the growth of the game in the big city because of the opening of small private schools.

Currently 127 University Interscholastic League schools play six-man in the Lone Star State, plus another 109 private school teams are scattered across the state.

The six-man game is very different from the 8-man because every player is eligible to be a receiver. There's even point differences. For example a field goal is worth four points, a point after attempt with a kick is worth two points while a run or pass extra point conversion is only good for one point.

The reason? Is really hard to get-off kicks with so few players on the line.

But, don't think points are hard to come-by in these games. Sometimes scoreboards can look like pinball machines as points ring-up.

Earlier this month in Texas, Trent beat Novice 132-86 set the record for the highest scoring game in six-man history. That topped a 2008 game between Throckmorton and May, which saw Throckmorton win 102-100, but that was in five overtimes.

One filmaker loved the six-man game so much that he did a documentary on it In 2008. Six Man, Texas takes you inside the the game, and the trailer is below is the trailer for the documentary.

You can check-out more on the six and eight-man game by going to High School Football America.

Kansas Eight-Man Football Association
Oklahoma Eight Man Football
Texas Sixman Football

No comments: