For the second season in a row, football is looking a little different for the Rapid River Rockets.
They're an eight-player football team that finished second in the state in their division last year. For the Rockets, having three less players on the field means tackling more than one job on the field.
"You have to not just know your position, not just know your defense position, but you have to know other positions and move around. And it is Ironman football. These guys play both sides of the ball. Kick-off, kick-receive. They're not off the field much," said head coach Steve Ostrenga.
The team made the change from eleven to eight players because of declining enrollment at Rapid River High School, which currently has 115 students.
With JV and Varsity combined, the football program now has 31 players. But the fewer number of players means more time on the field.
"We told our guys from day one, everybody's a starter. Yeah, you may not be on the field to start the game, but you're going to get a lot of playing time, so you're going to feel like you're a starter. These guys have played a lot of football," Ostrenga added.
The players act like a family on and off the field, beginning every practice with a team peanut butter and jelly snack session.
"We're like a bunch of brothers really. The coaches are our parents, and the football field's our home. We are really close. We're like one big family," said senior player Christopher Morgan.
So far, the Rockets are off to a great start this season, winning both of their first games against Ewen-Trout Creek and Posen. Their next game is against Brimley at home. To see the rest of their schedule, click here.