Small Arkansas high schools give 8-man football look

Survey: More than a dozen schools ready to plunge into eight-man play

Posted: May 30, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.

The Friday night lights may reignite in a number of small Arkansas towns this fall.

What is eight-man football?

It’s usually played by high schools with smaller enrollments on a slightly smaller playing field than the 11-man teams. The field dimensions are 40 yards wide but usually still 100 yards in length, although in some states the field length is reduced to 80 yards. The width of the field for 11-man is 53 yards. Other than the size of the playing field, the rules for eight-man generally are the same as for 11-man with just a few exceptions, like major penalties are 10 yards and not 15. There are also some point-after-touchdown differences.

There are an estimated 1,100 schools in the U.S. that play eight-man football in 30 states. Some of the states that offer eight-man include Oklahoma, Mississippi, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Tennessee.

Notable eight-man alumni

There are a number of former eight-man football players who have excelled at the collegiate and professional level. Among the more notable ones include:

• Dan Bailey: The Dallas Cowboys kicker played at Southwest Covenant School in Oklahoma and was an all-state kicker and punter. He won the Lou Groza Award in 2010 as nation’s top collegiate kicker at Oklahoma State and has been the Cowboys kicker since 2011.

• Rashaan Salaam: The 1994 Heisman Trophy winner from Colorado was a running back in the NFL for the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns. Salaam played 8-man football in California.

• Josh Brown: The former placekicker for the New York Giants, He played collegiately at Nebraska and played 8-man football at Foyil, Okla.

• Nolan Cromwell: An All-Pro safety for the Los Angeles Rams in the 1970s from Kansas.

Source: Staff report

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