Eight-man football is a form of gridiron football, generally played by high schools with smaller enrollments. Eight-man football differs from the traditional 11-man game with the reduction of three players on each side of the ball and a field width that can be reduced to 40 yards, 13 1/3 yards narrower than the 53 1/3-yard 11-man field. Most states continue to play on a 100-yard length field, whereas a few states opt for 80-yard lengths. Reduced-player football, which consists of eight-man, six-man, and nine-man football has gained popularity across the United States. As of 2015, 1,561 schools in 30 states sponsor reduced-player football, with 1,161 of those teams participating in eight-man leagues, whereas 284 teams play six-man football and 116 teams play nine-man football.
Eight-man football shares the same rules, procedures, and structure as the traditional 11-man game, with a few minor differences. Eight-man football is played with eight players on offense and defense, three fewer than the 11-man game. It depends greatly on the type of formation used, but the eliminated players are commonly two offensive tackles and a skill position player on offense and two defensive backs and a defensive lineman on defense.
The size of the playing field is often smaller in eight-man football than in 11-man. To accommodate six fewer players on the field, the width of the field is 40-yard-wide (37 m), 13 1/3-yards narrower than the 53 1/3-yard eleven-man field. Most eight-man leagues mandate 100-yard length fields, where few choose the 80-yard-long (73 m) field length option.
There are several professional eight-man football leagues in the United States, due to the eight-man format being adopted by most indoor football leagues. These leagues typically use a 50-yard (46 m) by roughly 25-yard (23 m) field, as professional eight-man football is usually played indoors. There are some eight-man leagues that play outdoors, however; in Texas the American Eightman Football League (AEFL) plays on a 100-yard field, and in Illinois and Missouri, the Eight Man Football League (8FL) plays on a 60-yard (55 m) field. In recent years, organizations that previously played six-man football have been converting to eight-man football, leading to the expansion of the eight-man game.
Eight-man football is particularly prominent in the Midwestern United States, with Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma being three of the four states with more than 80 eight-man teams. A write-up on 8-man football in Kansas appeared in Sports Illustrated's tribute to the state.
Of the 30 states that sponsor the 1,161 eight-man teams in the nation, teams are categorized by "class", "division", or "districts" with sub-conferences within each. States elect to use an either playoff system, a "bowl game" format (Jamboree), or for states with few eight-man teams, no official postseason is organized, instead electing for "Conference Champions".
Playoff format States that elect a playoff format will seed teams based on regular season records and conference standings. Depending on the sizes of each class, division, or district, the playoff bracket is adjusted accordingly. Teams will advance through the bracket until a state champion is crowned.
Bowl Game format  States that elect a bowl game format, also known as a Jamboree, will seed teams based on regular season records and pair them against like-seeded opponents (i.e. #1 vs #1, #2 vs #2, #3 vs #3, and #4 vs #4). In this format, teams play one postseason game as there is no advancement through levels as in a playoff format. Wisconsin currently uses this format for postseason eight-man games.
Eight-man football consists of fast-paced games with higher scoring than the traditional game. Eight-man scores vary depending on the offensive and defensive strategies, but scores typically fall in the 40-60 point range, with "high scoring" games reaching the 70s and "low scoring" games falling below 30. Eight-man football is noted for producing multi-skilled players that are responsible for playing several positions, which require speed, agility, and strength.
A variety of offensive formations can be used in eight-man football, most of which are converted from traditional eleven-man formations. Eight-man football rules require five players to be on the line of scrimmage with players on each end remaining pass eligible. The interior of the line consists of two guards and a center. Most often, the line players on the edges of the formation are tight ends, or are occasionally split wide as wide receivers. Due to reduced sized teams requiring players to know different positions, players' jersey numbers do not affect pass eligibility, however, most teams follow the general guidelines set forth by the eleven-man game.
Attempting the extra point kick after a touchdown is less common in eight-man, due to the lack of specialized kickers and holders and the inability to block defenders from interfering with the kick. For this reason, teams often attempt a two-point conversion instead.
General defensive alignments in eight-man football consist of defensive linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs. Common formations include a 3-3-2, 3-2-3, 4-3-1, 3-4-1, 4-2-2, 5-3, and a 6-2 goal-line defense. The 3-2-3 defense has gained popularity due to the increase of passing-oriented offense in the eight-man game. It substitutes a defensive back with a third linebacker.
Eight-man football includes special teams units similar to the traditional format. One notable difference is significantly fewer teams using field goal or extra point units, instead electing to go for a fourth down conversion or a two-point conversion. Additionally, many teams opt to onside kick instead of kick deep. This saves players' energy since there are often few backups.
Every year, eight-man football players, as well as other reduced-player football players, receive scholarships and/or opportunities to play collegiately. Below is a list of notable reduced-player football alumni. 
Rashaan Salaam – (October 8, 1974 – December 5, 2016) was a former American college and professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for four seasons during the 1990s. Salaam played college football for the University of Colorado and won the 1994 Heisman Trophy. He was picked by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft, and played professionally for the Bears and Cleveland Browns of the NFL. Collegiately, in addition to winning the Heisman Trophy, Salaam was a unanimous All-American selection and awarded the Walter Camp Award (1994), Doak Walker Award (1994), and Jim Brown Award (1994). His NFL career lasted five seasons, along with two seasons spent in the Canadian Football League. He is the youngest player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season (21 years, 77 days old).
Josh Brown – (born April 29, 1979) is an American football placekicker, formerly for the New York Giants of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the seventh round of the 2003 NFL Draft. He played college football at Nebraska. Brown was a member of the 2005 Seattle Seahawks NFC Champion team. He was also awarded the PFW Golden Toe Award in 2006.
Nolan Cromwell – (born January 30, 1955) is an American football player and coach who currently serves as a senior offensive assistant for the Cleveland Browns. He was an All-Pro safety for the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL and played for the University of Kansas in college, where he earned All-American honors. Cromwell played for the Rams from 1977 through 1987 and was named to the Pro Bowl in four consecutive years, 1980 through 1983. He played on the Rams' 1979–1980 Super Bowl XIV team. He was the Rams' wide receivers coach from 2010 to 2011. He was named the Wichita Eagle's high school football player of the decade for the 1970s.
Chad Greenway – (born January 12, 1983) is a former American football linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Iowa, and was drafted by the Vikings in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection (2011, 2012) and Second-team All-Pro (2012). He was awarded the Ed Block Courage Award (2007) and was the NFC Combined Tackles Leader (2010) and also ranked #70 in the Top 100 NFL Players of 2013.
Jack Pardee (Six-man) – (April 19, 1936 – April 1, 2013) was an American football linebacker and the only head coach to helm a team in college football, the National Football League, the United States Football League, the World Football League, and the Canadian Football League. Pardee was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1986. As a teenager, Pardee moved to Christoval, Texas, where he excelled as a member of the six-man football team. He was an All-American linebacker at Texas A&M University and a two-time All-Pro with the Los Angeles Rams (1963) and the Washington Redskins (1971). He was one of the few six-man players to ever make it to the NFL, and his knowledge of that wide-open game would serve him well as a coach.
Dean Steinkuhler – (born January 27, 1961) is a former American college and professional football player who was an offensive lineman in the National Football League (NFL) for eight seasons in the 1980s and 1990s. Steinkuhler played college football for the University of Nebraska, and was recognized as an All-American. While playing collegiately, he won the Outland Trophy (1983), Lombardi Award (1983), and the UPI Lineman of the Year (1983). He was selected in the first round of the 1984 NFL Draft, and played professionally for the Houston Oilers of the NFL. Steinkuhler is also remembered for being the player who picked up quarterback Turner Gill's intentional fumble in the 1984 Orange Bowl and ran it 19 yards for a touchdown in a play dubbed the "Fumblerooski".
Roland Woolsey – (born August 11, 1953 in Provo, Utah) is a former professional American football player who played in four NFL seasons for the Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns and the St. Louis Cardinals. He played college football at Boise State University.
The Israeli Football League, an eight-man league was established in Israel in 2005 with three teams, Haifa Underdogs, Tel Aviv Pioneers and Tel Aviv Sabres. The league was established by Israeli players and activists under the leadership of Ofri Becker, and though playing without equipment, this was the first ever tackle football league in this country, named Israeli Football League (IFL). In March 2008, at the end of the first season played in full gear, the Big Blue Jerusalem Lions defeated the Real Housing Haifa Underdogs 24 – 18 in overtime in Israel Bowl I. In Israel Bowl II in April 2009, the Dancing Camel Modi'in Pioneers defeated the defending champions Big Blue Jerusalem Lions 32 – 26 after two overtimes. The game was decided by a whole field interception return for a TD by Pioneers' Ohad Naveh. That season was played with five teams after the expansion franchise of Jerusalem Kings was added. The 2009–2010 season was played with seven teams, introducing two new franchises, the Beer Sheva Black Swarm and the Judean Rebels. In the 2010–2011 season, an eighth team was added (The Herzeliya Hammers), and the league was split into 2 divisions, IFL North and IFL South. The 2011–2012 season saw 10 teams, with five in each division, North and South. The North Division consisted of the three Tel Aviv-area teams: the Sabres, Pioneers and Hammers; as well as the Haifa Underdogs and Naharia North Stars. The South Division was made up of the three Jerusalem-area teams: the Rebels, Lions and Kings; as well as the Petah Tikva Troopers and Be'er Sheva Black Swarm. The IFL continued to expand for the 2012–2013 season, adding another Tel Aviv-area team, the Rehovot Silverbacks. Due to the odd number of teams, the IFL abandoned the North and South Divisions, and now each team plays every other team in the league one time during the 10 game season.
An eight-man league is also played in Ireland. This league, named DV8, is used as developmental league for rookies before they go on to compete in the 11man IAFL. In 2009, six teams competed in the DV8 league – Dublin Dragons, Edenderry Soldiers, Trinity College Dublin, Craigavon Cowboys, UCD Sentinels and Erris Rams.
The 2015 season of the Polish American Football League (Polish League of American Football) the 10th season played by the american football league in Poland. This is the first time in league history that a foreign team has joined one of the leagues (in PLFA8 development). The foreign team is from Kaliningrad, Russia.Alabama High School Athletic Association
The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA), based in Montgomery, is the governing body for interscholastic athletics and activities programs for public schools in Alabama.
The AHSAA is a member National Federation of State High School Associations since 1924.
The AHSAA merged with the Alabama Interscholastic Athletic Association in 1968, forming one high school athletic association for the State of Alabama in accordance with a court order relating to athletics. The AIAA had previously governed athletics at segregated African-American schools.
The AHSAA sponsors state championships programs in 13 boys and 13 girls sports: Baseball, Softball, Basketball, Football, Cross Country, Soccer, Swimming and Diving, Track and Field, Tennis, Volleyball, Wrestling, Cheerleading and Indoor Track.
While the AHSAA is the primary sanctioning organization for high school sports in Alabama (and the only one allowed for public schools), it is not the only such organization. The Alabama Independent School Association sanctions athletics for approximately 40 private schools throughout the state. Other smaller organizations, such as the Alabama Christian Sports Conference and the Alabama Christian Athletic and Academic Association, sanction sports from smaller Christian schools and home schools, particularly in eight-man football.
The current executive director is Steve Savarese.Angels Toruń
Angels Toruń is an American football team based in Toruń, Poland. The team currently competes in the PLFA II of Polish American Football League.The club also hosts the Angels Junior (PLFA J for under-17 players) and reserve team Metropolitans in eight-man football competitions PLFA 8.Carey High School (Carey, Idaho)
Carey School is a K-12 school in the Blaine County School District and serves the rural farming community of Carey, Idaho. The high school is located on the same campus that includes an elementary and junior high school, encompassing Carey School.
The Carey High School football team was the 2006 and 2008 state champion in 1A Division II eight-man football in Idaho, their fourth state championship title. The Carey girls basketball have gone to state three years in a row. They have gotten consolation, 3rd and 2nd. Some of the most intense rivalries Carey has in sports have been with Richfield, Dietrich and in the past Shoshone High School.Defensive end
Defensive end (DE) is a defensive position in the sport of American and Canadian football.
This position has designated the players at each end of the defensive line, but changes in formations over the years have substantially changed how the position is played.Eight-man football defensive formations
There are several
defensive formations commonly used in eight-man football. Defensive formations are classified by the total number of linemen and linebackers in the formation. The three basic types of formations in eight-man football are seven-man fronts, six-man fronts and five-man fronts.
As in 11-man football, formations are described in a (number of defensive linemen)-(number of linebackers)-(number of defensive backs) format.Follett Independent School District
Follett Independent School District is a public school district based in Follett, Texas (USA).
The district has one school that serves students in grades pre-kindergarten through twelve.
Follett won the 1974 state eight-man football championship and finished as the 1975 runner-up (the 1975 season was the last that the eight-man title was contested as a UIL event).Garywood Christian School
Garywood Christian School was a Christian private school located in Hueytown, Alabama, in the western suburbs of Birmingham. It was affiliated with Garywood Assembly of God, a large Pentecostal church that houses the school's facilities. The school suspended operations in 2007 as a result of the parent church's action toward moving to a new location.
The school was founded in 1985 by Garywood's pastor, Rev. John A. Loper Jr. At its inception, the school offered classes in kindergarten through eighth grades, adding a higher grade each successive school year until all twelve grades were offered. The school offered Bible-based curriculum in all standard school subjects. In 2003, the school also offered sponsorship of home school students, giving such students the legal "umbrella organization" required by Alabama law and also allowing them additional opportunities, such as sports participation.
GCS fielded varsity sports teams in eight-man football, boys' and girls' basketball, volleyball, baseball, and fast-pitch softball. The teams played under the nickname "Crusaders". Their uniform colors were blue, black and white. In 2003, the Crusader football team won the National Association of Christian Athletes Division 3 national championship, the first post-season championship in school history. The teams competed in the National Christian Sports Conference (formerly the National Christian Athletic Association) at the time the school suspended operations.
One of the school's teachers, Lyn Turk, took part in The Amazing Race 10 and became part of the first all-female team to ever make it into the final three in the show's history. Her team finished third overall.Gasconade Valley Conference
The Gasconade Valley Conference is a high school athletic conference consisting of six small, rural high schools in Mid-Missouri. All the schools in the conference are Class 2 and 3, a norm for small rural schools in the area. The league takes its name from the Gasconade River, a tributary of the Missouri River in south-central and central Missouri.
The league officially offers championships for girls in Basketball, Cross Country, Softball, Track & Field and Volleyball. And for boys the league officially sponsors championships in Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer and Track & Field. Some schools sponsor sports that are not sponsored by the league but are sponsored by the Missouri State High School Activities Association, such as Golf, Tennis and Girls soccer. Cuba sponsors football and Steelville sponsors Eight-man football.
The league is also somewhat unusual among those in Missouri in that it offers official fall baseball and spring softball competition.Goree Independent School District
Goree Independent School District was a public school district based in Goree, Texas (USA).
The district consisted of a single campus - Goree School - that served students in grades pre-kindergarten through twelve. It was located in southeastern Knox County and extended into northeastern Haskell and northwestern Throckmorton counties.
Goree School was the 1972 and 1973 Texas eight-man football state champions. The eight-man title was contested for only four years (1972 through 1975); thus, Goree won 50 percent of the titles.Kansas State High School Activities Association
The Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) is the organization which oversees interscholastic competition in the U.S. state of Kansas at the high-school level. It oversees both athletic and non-athletic competition, and sponsors championships in several sports and activities.Lee Riley
Leon Francis Riley, Jr. (August 24, 1932 – June 9, 2011), best known as Lee Riley, was an American college and professional American football defensive back. He played collegiately at the University of Detroit Mercy, in the NFL for the Detroit Lions, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the New York Giants, and in the American Football League for the New York Titans.Lee Riley was raised in Schenectady, New York where he attended St. Aloysius Academy (high school). He later attended St. Bonaventure University before transferring to the University of Detroit Mercy, where he played collegiate football. His father, Leon Riley, Sr., played professional baseball and briefly played in Major League Baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies during World War II before relocating to Rome, New York to assume role as player/manager of a minor league team in 1940s to early 1950s. Lee played college football at the University of Detroit Mercy. He was the older brother of Pat Riley, currently president of the Miami Heat and former National Basketball Association player, coach and broadcaster.Lee Riley played eight-man football at St. Aloysius Academy. He then went to the U of Detroit and was drafted by the Detroit Lions. He was inducted into the Rome, New York Hall of Fame. In his last year of Professional Football he led the AFL in pass interceptions.Montclair College Preparatory School
Montclair College Preparatory School, also commonly known as "Montclair Prep," was a school located in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California, near Panorama City. The school taught grades 6 through 12, and later 9-12 only.Nine-a-side footy
Nine-a-side football is a sport based on Australian rules football played informally by Aussie rules clubs but not yet an official sport in its own right.
9-a-side games are sometimes played on half size fields that are typically rectangular or more commonly rugby fields, with 9 players on the field at any one time, typically consisting of 3 forwards, 3 backs and 3 centre players. Often two games are played at the same time on a single Australian Rules or cricket pitch. Other times, 9-a-side makes use of the full space of the field when a full complement of players is not available. This variety is a more open, running variety of Australian rules.Polish American Football League
The Polish American Football League or shortly PLFA (Polish: Polska Liga Futbolu Amerykańskiego) is a structured system for the American football competitions in Poland founded in 2006 by the Polish federation PZFA. In 2012, the Topliga was created as a major league with a bid (invitation) rule. The remaining teams are divided into two leagues (PLFA I and PLFA II) between which there is promotion and relegation. There are two eight-man football competitions: PLFA 8 for reserve teams and smaller clubs, and PLFA J for under-17 players.
The top four teams from the Topliga regular season enter the playoffs and the winners meet in the championship game called the SuperFinał (more commonly known as the Polish Bowl). The PLFA I championship game is called the PLFA Cup Game.
In the 2013 season there were 74 teams in 5 leagues. 57 teams played 11-man football (8 teams in the Topliga, 8 teams in the PLFA I and 21 teams in the PLFA II) and other 37 teams played 8-man football competitions: 20 senior teams and 17 junior teams). The TopLiga and PLFA I are divided into two divisions, PLFA II into three divisions, and PLFA 8 and PLFAJ into five divisions based on geographical reasons.
After the 2017 season, there was a split in Polish American football, 20 clubs left the PLFA and founded a new league, the Liga Futbolu Amerykańskiego or shortly LFA.Six-man football
Six-man football is a variant of American football played with six players per team, instead of 11.Spring Mountain Junior/Senior High School
Spring Mountain Jr./Sr. High School is a junior and senior high school in Clark County, Nevada. It is operated by the Clark County School District, but it is also part of the Spring Mountain Youth Camp in the Clark County Juvenile Justice System. It employs eleven teachers. It has at most 100 students at any given time, and it teaches some 260 students during the school year. Students spend an average of six months at the Spring Mountain Youth Camp. All students at Spring Mountain are males.
The facilities were built for the United States Air Force in 1955 as the Las Vegas Air Force Station, run by the 865th Radar Squadron. Clark County acquired the land in 1979.
It plays an eight-man football program on an 80-yard field, along with other sports as a member of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association.Texas Sixman Football League
The Texas Sixman Football League (TSFL) was a complex-based amateur six-man football league based in San Antonio, Texas. The league comprises eight teams, all of which played their games at one (usually parochial) school in the San Antonio area each season, and operated from 1999 through 2012. It is the direct predecessor to the current Texas Eight-Man Football League that began play in 2013.Touchback
In American football, a touchback is a ruling which is made and signaled by an official when the ball becomes dead on or behind a team's own goal line (i.e., in an end zone) and the opposing team gave the ball the momentum, or impetus, to travel over or across the goal line. Since the 2018 season, touchbacks have also been awarded in college football on kickoffs that end in a fair catch by the receiving team between its own 25-yard line and goal line. Such impetus may be imparted by a kick, pass, fumble, or in certain instances by batting the ball. A touchback is not a play, but a result of events that may occur during a play. A touchback is the opposite of a safety with regard to impetus since a safety is scored when the defending team is responsible for the ball becoming dead on or behind its own goal line.
Examples of instances where a touchback would be awarded include when:
A kickoff or punt enters the end zone and is downed by the receiving team without the ball being advanced beyond the goal line. Thus, a player on the receiving team could attempt to advance the ball out of his own end zone, but the original impetus from the kick remains as long as the ball does not completely cross the goal line into the field of play. If a kick is fielded by the receiving team in its end zone, is advanced beyond the goal line, and then the ball carrier retreats back into his own end zone where the ball is downed, it is a safety. If a member of the kicking team recovers a kick-off in the end zone, the play is ruled as a touchdown.
In college football, any kickoff that ends in a fair catch by the receiving team inside its own 25-yard line.
In high school football, any kicked ball that crosses the plane of the goal line, unless it is a successful field goal.
A kickoff or punt touches the ground in the receiving team's end zone before being touched by a player of the receiving team. If a kicked-off ball goes into the end zone and then is recovered by a member of the kicking team, it's merely a touchdown for the kicking team, when the ball is touched by the receivers.
A kickoff or punt goes out of bounds behind or over the receiving team's goal line or touches the goal posts or crossbar (and does not score a field goal).
A ball carrier fumbles the ball within the field of play forward into his opponents end zone and the loose ball then goes out of bounds behind or above his opponent's goal line, is recovered and downed by an opposing player in the end zone, or touches the pylon. The opposing team would be awarded the touchback.
A defensive player intercepts a forward pass in his own end zone and the ball becomes dead behind or over the goal line. Like the instance of a kickoff or punt fielded in an end zone, the intercepting player can attempt to advance the ball but it is still a touchback as long as the ball never completely crosses the goal line into the field of play before it is downed.
A blocked punt goes back into the end zone and the defensive team intentionally bats or kicks the ball out the back of the end zone. Offense must decline penalty.
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