Atherton Makes The Move To 8-Man Football, Should Others Follow?
Atherton High School has announced that they will be playing 8-man football next season.
This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that followed the Wolverines over the last couple of years. Atherton has struggled to even field a full team, forfeiting three games total last season. With barely enough kids to field a full team, the Wolverines have only won one game in the last two seasons.
I've had some exposure to the 8-man game, and I actually think this is a great idea for Atherton. The first season will take some getting used to for the players and the fans, but eventually it will become the new normal.
There are already a few area teams that play 8-man football, including Genesee and International Academy of Flint. Along with a handful of schools from the thumb, the Wolverines will compete in the North Central Thumb League.
There are rumors that Bentley might go the same route and field an 8 man team next season.
This takes me back to when the three Burton schools were going to combine. Bendle, Bentley and Atherton were all discussing building a new school and becoming Burton High School. Eventually the plans were dropped, and Bendle built an amazing new school.
I wonder if it's time to start thinking about something like that again. In the next couple of years, the Baker College campus will be vacant, and could make a great site for a new Class A Burton school. I know it would be a little bit of a drive for the Bentley side of the area, but it still might be worth discussing.
If you are one of the football traditionalists who hate the idea of 8-man football, there are a few things you need to realize.
- Football is not gaining any popularity recently. With head injuries coming to the front of the conversation, more parents are not pushing their kids to play.
- Our area is shrinking. Look at what has happened to Flint Schools over the last few years.
- 8-man football is played all over the state, and is a lot of fun to watch. I wouldn't be surprised if schools that field a regular 11 man squad, start participating in 8 man leagues as well.
I don't have any sort of inside information or anything, but I think that this is just the start of teams in our area moving to 8-man football.