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|Tensas going to 8-man football|
Tensas Academy will be competing in an eight-man football league in 2008.
Tensas head coach Joe Coats said the change is because of the low number out for football.
"We only had 10 high school-age players out and it's hard to play 11-man football with that number," Coats said. "If we were playing 11-man football, we would have eighth-graders going both ways for 48 minutes playing against 18- and 19-year-olds in 11 games and you just can't do that."
In eight-man football, the offensive team is required to have at least five players on the line of scrimmage. Any player who is on the end of the line of scrimmage is an eligible receiver, regardless of the number he is wearing. All three backs are also eligible receivers.
Any player may wear any number, regardless of the position he plays.
"That's because you may have one player playing different positions," Coats said.
The Tensas coach said the game will be played on regulation field instead of a field 80 yards long and 40 yards wide, which exists in some eight-man leagues.
"The coaches wanted to keep the regulation field," Coats said. "That makes the kicking game very important because it's hard to cover a regulation field with eight people."
Coats said most teams take out both tackles and one running back on offense.
"But you can pretty much do whatever you want," he said. "You can gang up on one side and go to an unbalanced side, leaving the guard, tackle and an end. I would rather play on a smaller field because we don't have a lot of speed and I would rather gang up in there and make it more physical."
Coats said it will not be a big adjustment for his players.
"It's blocking, tackling and catching," he said
The league consists of two districts, North and South.
Tensas is in a district with Ben's Ford, Christian Collegiate, Mt. Salus and Rebul. Competing in the North are Calhoun, Calvary, Central, defending champion Kemper and Russell.
The champion from both districts meets in a championship game on Nov. 7.
"I really like it," Coats said. "I was a little skeptical like everyone else who came to the meeting. But at some point reality takes over. I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't have three or four districts next year when we go to re-classification."
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