story updated 7-29-19 – Another OHSAA member to play 8 man football.


(7-23-19) Toledo Christian and Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans both recently announced that they would not be playing 11-man football in 2019 and have decided to pursue 8-man football. Today another school looks to be moving in that direction in Northwest Ohio, Holgate.

UPDATED 7-25-19

With the change these schools will not be eligible for OHSAA playoffs and there is no playoff in place for 8-man football, since the association does not sanction the 8-man version.

Toledo Christian Football Andrew Skeels recently told the Toledo Blade in a story:

“A lot of schools just don’t have the numbers and, if they had an alternative like this, they could do the same things that we’re doing. I’m willing to put ourselves out there, and make things uncomfortable for me, and a lot of other people, to do that.”

Low player numbers is the main reason for the change of format for all three schools, an issue that faces other schools around Ohio who are playing the 11-man game.

Bishop Rosecrans Football Coach Gage Lotozo told the times Times Recorder:

 “I’m upset in the fact that we couldn’t get the kids that we needed to come out for the kids that were already playing. We talked to as many kids as we could. I think it was 25 kids over 65 times and just kept getting a resounding ‘no’. We’ve been stuck at 13. Going into late May and early June and it hasn’t changed.”

The issue not only effects these three schools, but it also causes the twenty seven 11-man football schools that were scheduled to play them, they now all have dates to fill during the year. Some of those 27 have agreed to play an 8-man game (won’t count in OHSAA computer points).

Northwood Football Coach Ken James, whose school is a member of the Toledo Area Athletic Conference with Toledo Christian  told The Press:

“Everybody is scrambling, there’s not much to do at this stage. There aren’t a whole lot of good options. “(Facing TC) was a home game for us, so it’s a financial issue — football is a big part of our athletic budget. It creates some difficulty for us, but we’ll deal with it.

The three schools making the change will also be looking for teams to play. One source could be Michigan (nearest state with 8-man football), but that will include added travel time and finding teams with an open date.

The 8-man game is becoming an option for schools in other states, Illinois is working with member schools who made the switch

Illinois 8-Man Football Association – 2018 State Championship – Milford-Cissna Park vs. Alden-Hebron

Background on the situation