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      Eight-man football in the U.P.

      Small Upper Peninsula schools are looking for a way to keep their football program going. Some teams are testing the eight-man concept this fall.

      Engadine did very well Saturday, winning 50 to 14 over Carsonville-Port Sanilac, located six hours away on the shore of Lake Erie.

      The intensity is the same, but the number of players is a little different.

      Take a look at the image on the right for a look at a basic formation. Engadine is on the right--you see the players there--five have to be on the line of scrimmage. Carsonville-Port Sanilac is on the left.

      Engadine only practiced eight-man for a week to get ready for this game. They had to make several adjustments.

      "We had to pull our fullback," said Michael Klobucher, Eagles' wide receiver/linebacker. "Most of the time he runs it, but we had to switch the wide receivers to fullback. So instead of having four wide and one fullback, we had three wide and a fullback."

      "Blocking schemes are very different than eleven-man," said Ken Oven, Eagles' center and defensive lineman. "It took us awhile to get it down, but we got it. It worked and it showed."

      "We had our center, who usually pulls on eleven-man, and we had to switch that to everyone just go man up," stated Phillip Hood, Eagles; quarterback and safety. "That kind of gets confusing once in a while, but we pulled through. We did it, we practiced hard."

      An eleven-man football field is 53 1/3 yards wide. An eight-man field is just 40 yards wide so the sideline is right below the numerals. Engadine would like to become an eight-man team next year.

      "As long as there is a viable season, we're not going to play a five game season with no playoffs," said Eagles' coach, Lesler Livermore. "We want to compete. We want to compete with teams that are quality football teams. If we can have an eight or nine game season with a playoff system in place, then we're committed to it."

      Ironically Engadine hosts Cedarville this weekend in an eleven-man game. Cedarville defeated Posen 54 to 6 in another eight-man exhibition game last weekend.

      Don't forget to check out our new Friday Night Fever page for the lastest on this year's High School Football Season in the U.P.