October 15, 2018

Mio AuSable switching to eight-man football in 2019-2020

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MIO — In the 2019-20 school year the Mio AuSable High School football team will be switching to an eight-man format.

Athletic Director Jeff Demory said the school is still working out the details, and will have more information about which league the school is joining later this year.

Demory said one reason the school is switching is because Mio AuSable is fairly smaller than the other schools in its division. He said schools of similar size can’t keep up with the 11-man format bigger schools are able to run, and most of them have already switched.

“I coached here for 12 years,” Demory said. “I love 11-man football, but after looking at what’s been happening with the league, it is something that we’re going to have to do; I’m a realist.”

Demory said although he believes the switch is necessary for multiple reasons, the most important one is for safety.

“With the fewer numbers (of students trying out for the team), if you go to eight-man you’ve got room for a JV and varsity team,” he said. “We’ve had kids playing varsity football as freshmen and sophomores. You’ve got 140-pound 14-year-old boys going against 280-pound 18-year-old men. You know which way it’s going to go.”

Demory said he understands there will be apprehension from parents in the area about the switch, but he believes it’s what’s best for the students.

“There is going to be caution in the community,” he said. “Pessimists will say, ‘Don’t go to eight-man, that’s not real football.’ But when it comes to the safety of the kids, I know it’s the right thing to do.”

Demory said he believes the new information that’s surfaced in recent years on concussions in relation to football is having an effect on participation. He said he thinks moving to an eight-man format will draw more students out for the team.

“The kids want eight-man, believe it or not,” he said. “I was resistant at first, but after seeing all of the schools of our size doing this, you’ve got to see the writing on the walls.”

Demory said to ensure there is no bad blood between the other schools staying in the 11-man format, Mio AuSable is giving the league this one-year warning. He said if Mio AuSable were to switch to a different league now, it would throw off every other team’s schedule in the league. He said this one-year warning gives the schools ample time to prepare for Mio AuSable’s departure.

The first official day of the Mio AuSable football season this year is Aug. 6.

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