8 man FB MHSAA

(7-26-19) Recently three Ohio high schools (Holgate, Toledo Christian and Bishop Rosecrans) have announced that they would leave the 11 man football game to go to the 8 man game. For some fans it is to much of a drastic change, but then again over the years the game of football has changed.

The first game of football was held on November 6, 1869, when Rutgers played  Princeton.  It was more of a modified rugby match then what we know as football today.

Taking a look back over 100 years and the origin of American Football you will see that like many sports many drastic changes have taken place.

Rule changes that occurred in the early 1900’s and resemble what we know today.

“Official Foot Ball Rules 1906”

  1. Length of game reduced from 70 minutes to two halves of 30 minutes each.
  2. The two teams would be separated by a neutral zone (the length of the ball) at the line of scrimmage.
  3. Team had to gain 10 yards in 3 plays rather than 5 yards for a first down
  4. Hurdling was penalized.
  5. Offensive linemen had to drop back five yards behind scrimmage if not moving forward.
  6. Field marked with lines every five yards.
  7. A fourth official added to enforce the rules.
  • Field 110 yards in length
  • Kickoff made from midfield
  • Three downs to gain ten yards
  • Touchdown worth 5 points
  • Field goal worth 4 points
  • Forward pass legal, but subject to penalties:
  • Touchdown, 5 points.
  • Goal from touchdown, 1 point.
  • Goal from the field, 4 points.
  • Safety by opponents, 2 points.

How the Rules of American Football Have Changed

The recent announcement by Ohio high schools announcing that they were moving from 11 man football to 8 man football, due to very low numbers, has created some chatter on social media in support of 8 man football and some who don’t think it is ‘football.

But the switch to 8 man football seems to be a positive move for many small schools facing low numbers of athletes around the US who want to play the sport. Ohio is not the first to see 8 man football teams pop up in recent years.

The latest school to announce the change in Ohio, Holgate, almost has a complete schedule already in place:

  • Week 1 at Stryker (agreed to play 8 man game)
  • Week 2 OPEN
  • Week 3 at Toledo Christian
  • Week 4 OPEN
  • Week 5 vs. Toledo Christian
  • Weeks 6 vs. Bishop Rosecrans
  • Week 7 OPEN
  • Week 8 vs. Bishop Rosecrans
  • Week 9 (Indiana Playoff Pending) vs. Harlan, Indiana
  • Week 10 Michigan School for the Deaf

The schedule does include trips to Zanesville, Indiana and Michigan, but the Tigers will be playing football and that is important. The schedule includes playing Toledo Christian and Bishop Rosecrans twice, one at home and one on the road.


8 man football rules

Field size is a change that most fans will notice, field is reduced from 100 yards to 80 yards, 40 yards wide and 15 yard end zones. But it is still football.

To this point the OHSAA has not made an official statement on the current situation that is starting to gain momentum. 8 man football is not a sanctioned sport in Ohio, it might be time to study its future in the Buckeye state.

Consider this….

High school, college and pro football don’t all have the same rules in place

  • Pro football a legal catch is two feet in bounds, high school and college you need just one foot in bounds
  • Pro football the extra point is snapped from the 15 yard line, college and high school is the 3 yard line
  • Pro football allows a runner or receiver who has no contact with a defender and goes down to one knee can still advance, in college and high school a knee down in the same situation the player is considered down