SPORTS GALORE: 8-player football final in Greenville

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 12:35 pm on Friday, November 16, 2012

Just two more weeks remain in the fall high school sports season.

Winter basketball and wrestling practice has already started, but until football season is over most won’t pay attention to the fast approaching second season.

The next two weekends are about football. And it is usually reserved for the big boys of high school football. That is nothing new this year.

The state semifinals, in all divisions, feature some of the top programs annually, like Rockford, Detroit Catholic Central, Muskegon, Birmingham Brother Rice, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Ithaca and Beal City to name more than a few.

This year features upstarts as well, with Grand Rapids Christian, Comstock Park and Harbor Beach, who scored a whopping 535 points this season.

Tonight, though features the little guys. In a state final, no less.

Normally around the area no one is even talking about the 8-player state final. This year, in just its second season as a Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsored postseason, the game will take place at Legacy Field in Greenville tonight.

That has a lot of people interested.

Kickoff tonight will take place at 7 p.m. as Deckerville (11-1) faces Bellaire (9-3) for the state title. The game will be aired live on Fox Sports Detroit Plus.

Eight-player football has been around for a long time in Michigan, but just recently as an MHSAA sport. The sport is played in more than 20 states with various rule differences.

In Michigan, the main difference is a thinner field. Instead of a field 53-yards wide, the field is just 40-yards wide. Five players must lineup on the line of scrimmage, but two of those five are eligible to receive the ball.

While there are some differences, the game is basically played the same. It’s not an amateur version of Arena Football. Scores are low at times and many of the teams feature ground attacks the old Big Ten would be proud of.

I will be covering the game and looking forward to seeing the different version of the game.

Gates open at 5 p.m. and it costs $8 to attend.

It’s a great opportunity for the community to host this game and a great showcase for Greenville with the televised game on FSD plus.

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