Springwood Ready for 8-man Football





When you think of high school football, you think of 11 taking on 11. In the case of Springwood School, it is going to be slightly different as they move to an eight-man football league. This is the first year that the Alabama Independent School Association has held the eight-man division and holds a total of six teams in the division.

This is not the only major change for the Springwood program as they also have a new head coach in Joey Burks. Burks was on staff last season and is moving to the head coaching role this season.

“A lot of the coaches beforehand didn’t put a lot of pride in the program,” said assistant coach Henry Plant. “For them to take on this part that is going to be a difficult year, it shows a lot about their character and shows a lot about the program and how much it means to them.”

Last season, Springwood went 1-9 in traditional 11-man football struggling to put points up on the board but also struggled to stop teams on defense as they gave up close to 40 points a game. The players are excited about the switch to eight-man because they said they think it gives them a better chance at succeeding.

“When we were in 11-man, we were in 3A,” said Trestin Garrett, starting lineman for Springwood. “We had 20 people on our sideline compared to teams that had way more kids on their sideline. It gets tough to compete. When you put us in the eight-man it makes it more competitive and shows that y’all can compete as a team. It makes it easier for us to compete as a team.”

According to the three players on stage, Garrett, Cayden Cook and Ben Cooper, there isn’t much of a difference between 11-man and eight-man other than taking three players off the field. The schemes and playbook they are going to utilize are the same as if it was 11-man. The dimensions of the field are the same, so speed is going to be a key factor.

“It is the same pass concepts, same run concepts,” Cook said. “It’s the same. Everyone else has to learn the game just like us. Nothing has changed as much as people say it has.”

Springwood is going to open their season with a region game against Southern Prep Academy on Thursday, Aug. 25 at home. This is the third time that these schools have met and the last matchup saw Southern Prep win 40-16. It will be necessary for Springwood to get out fast before they head on the road for the next three games.

“I’m more excited than I have been for any year,” Cook said. “New uniforms, new helmets, new everything. It is something that brings energy to the team. Not only to the team but to the coaches as well.”


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