8-man football could preserve the sport at some Maine high schools, says coach
The Maine Principals’ Association surveyed its membership in 2011 about providing the option for smaller schools amid a general uptick in programs adding the sport — only to see respondents resoundingly oppose any deviation from the 11-player norm.
But times have changed.
“Seven years ago football was growing by leaps and bounds in our state, and what’s happening now is that schools are having a difficult time maintaining their programs because of low numbers,” said Susan Robbins, athletic administrator at Yarmouth High School and a member of the MPA Football Committee.
The MPA already has taken several steps since 2011 to promote a more competitive football environment.
A fourth class was added in 2013 to reduce the enrollment differential between the largest and smallest schools in each division, and the establishment of cooperative teams involving two or more schools to help expand roster size has been encouraged in recent years.
A developmental Class E was created last fall for teams that already had dropped from varsity status or were in danger of doing so.
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