by Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun
The Logan Longhorns are preparing for a new season of football in a new eight-man league.
The league was initiated by the New Mexico Activities Association following a recommendation from a committee that discussed the new league with several schools.
“Some smaller schools were concerned about the unlevel playing field against schools with more players than them, such as Logan,” said Mario Martinez, associate director for the NMAA. One example given by Martinez was a school that had eight players and was up against one that had 35 players.
High schools with enrollments of 75 to 125 students have been moved up to the new eight-man league and have been organized into four districts, said Martinez.
The four Districts and their respective schools are:
*District I: Menaul of Albuquerque, Mountainair and Springer;
*District II: Animus, Magdalena, Pine Hill and Reserve;
*District III: Gateway Christian, Tatum and Valley Christian of Roswell; and
*District IV: Clovis Christian, Floyd, Logan and Melrose.
Superintendent of Logan Schools Carolyn Franklin said, “We are kind of new to football. We have only been playing six-man for seven years, but I feel we will be ready for the change.”
Logan Football coach Billy Burns said, “I played eight-man football in high school. It’s a great game.
“Running is a part of the game as well as passing but unlike six-man, it’s not a game of single possessions. It’s more of a field position game.”
One of the most obvious differences to players, Burns said, was that Logan will now be playing on a 100-yard by 40-yard field. Last year Logan’s field was 80 yards by 40 yards.
“We will need to go to the new 100-yard field if we want a chance at hosting a playoff game,” said Burns.
Two schools making a move down to the eight-man league from an 11-man team, because of decreased enrollment, are Menaul of Albuquerque and Springer, said Burns.
This season Burns will be rebuilding his Longhorns team, as well as making adjustments to the new eight-man game.
“We lost nine players last year with graduation but look to have about 20 players with the upcoming freshmen,” Burns said.
The students are excited and a little curious about the new eight-man game they will be playing, but that’s to be expected, Burns said.
“Every year you want to do well and the players just have to get ready and fired-up for the upcoming season,” said Burns, adding that practice begins Aug. 7.