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Sports

Volume 65 Number 1

Good start for new 8-man football program at Chadwick

by Lindsey Waller - 2014-10-09

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The Chadwick football team made the switch this season to an 8-man program. The team made the change out of necessity, Athletic Director Tom Goodspeed said. The change, he said, was in response to a decline in participation. In August, the team only had 12 players. After some recruiting efforts, the team now has a total of 23 players.

Aside from the obvious three less players on the field, 8-man football differs from regular 11-man football in that the field is smaller and the game is faster, senior Kevin Ulman said. Because the game is faster, the scores tend to be higher, Goodspeed said. The coaches and players have all had to learn the strategies of the game.

“There is so much less space on the field…so you can’t run the ball as much,” junior Maxie Alexander said.

According to Goodspeed, the coaches have been working to adjust their coaching methods to the new game. The differences are mostly within the defense, Ulman and Alexander said. Still, the team has had a smooth transition so far.

“Once you are on the field, you can’t really tell the difference, but talking about 8-man and looking at the 8-man field is just not the same,” Ulman said.

A consequence, however, of playing 8-man is less support from fans, Ulman and Alexander admitted. “People don’t take 8-man seriously,” senior Conor Range said. This switch also highlights the diminishing size of the program, Goodspeed said.

On the other hand, “The fundamentals are still there,” he said. The younger players also have more opportunities to participate, as the 8-man program allows Chadwick to field a junior varsity team in addition to the varsity squad.

The team has played all of its games at home so far, and has more home games in the near future. The team is optimistic for the rest of the season, Alexander said, after a sparkling 4-1 start. According to Ulman, Chadwick’s 8-man team is currently ranked No. 27 in the state, and has a good chance of winning a CIF championship.

“The advantage isn’t necessarily that we are going to do better, but that we can actually play,” Range said.

The change has not proved detrimental to the athletes so far, even with the recruiting process. According to Goodspeed, Chadwick’s athletic department has been up front with college coaches about the reasons for the switch, and recruiters do not seem to care whether Range plays on an eight-man or 11-man team. “The change hasn’t affected my [being recruited],” Range said. College coaches know who he is, and they want to see film of him playing because they can still assess his skill, Goodspeed said.

Goodspeed indicated that the change to 8-man is temporary, that the athletic department is working to build back the 11-man program.

“Our commitment to the Prep League is to get back to playing 11-man, but this was a way for us to keep [the football program] going and keep it alive,” Goodspeed said.

The numbers are on the rise, and the Middle School program looks promising he said.

In the meantime, Goodspeed said, the 8-man program allows both the upperclassmen and underclassmen to have a good experience in the football program.


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Article Keywords:

chadwick, football, team, program, change, goodspeed, players, field, game, ulman, coaches, alexander, range


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