ALGOMA, Wis. Algoma High School is considering breaking a long-time tradition of having an eleven-player football lineup. The school is looking at possibly downsizing to an eight-player lineup after a decrease in enrollment.
Algoma High School football team
Last school year the junior varsity team had to cancel a few games toward the end of the season due to player shortage.
"We have difficulty finding players for eleven-player football so fielding a competitive team year after year is something that is a challenge," said David Robertson, Algoma High School Athletic Director.
"A lot of people- when they say eight-man they're like well what is it? It's basically the same thing, you lose two linemen essentially and you lose one person in the back field," said Algoma High School Football Coach, Wade Vandervest.
Other high schools with eight-player lineups include Sevastopol and Gibraltar.
Algoma high school only has 28 players on the football team, including freshman. Vandervest says switching to an eight-player lineup will even out the competition.
"You look at Sevastopol and Gibraltar and other schools, they might have up to 20, 22, 24 or 25, that range, so that's kind of dealing with the same numbers we are at right now also," added Vandervest.
"Enrollment is probably the biggest driving factor, when we look at our projected enrollment, it's projected to decline for the next four years," said Robertson.
Coach Vandervest says in football you have to think two years ahead of time. If the high school decides on an eight-man football team for the 2019 season, they will need to finalize the decision by the first week of November.
Robertson says he expects to hear concerns from students and the community on the issue.
"One concern that's already been expressed is well what about if you have an exceptional athlete that has the ability to go to the NCAA? Will they get a good look at the eight-player football as opposed to the eleven- player football?" said Robertson.
“You have to weigh the good and the bad and that's kind of where we're at right now, we're kind just looking into it, exploring it a little bit, and kind of make our decision from there," Vandervest says.