KY’s high school football system is perfect recipe for more injuries, less confidence | Opinion

Kentucky used to have eight-man football from 1999-2002 when there were fewer 11-man classes.

Now we have six imbalanced classes of 11-man football and no 8-man football.

Yet, over one-fourth of Class A teams have a Dave Cantrall rating of 10 or below. Lopsided scores of 56-0 and a running clock against the top one-half teams are not uncommon during the regular season.

If you want to take away a young athlete’s confidence in high school, we have created a perfect scenario to do so in Kentucky’s most played and watched high school sport.

If more boys are getting injured against larger opponents, then more sophomores and freshmen will have to play only to get hurt as well, leading to an eventual canceling of football altogether.

The solution to these lopsided numbers is eight-man football. If you have never seen it played, you are in for quite a treat.

With no fullback and no guards, it is wide-open passing and open-field running on the same 100-yard field. Ten to 20 yards per play and 50-48 scores are a norm.

Teams like Eminence and KCD have won eight-man KHSAA football titles in the past with Bethlehem, Caverna, Beth Haven, KSD, Jenkins, Allen Central, et al giving them a run for their money. Yet they, and more recently, other teams still struggle mightily against the single-A powerhouses of today.

There are no less than 10 low-rating teams that are possibly on the verge of considering canceling their 11-man football. This not only hurts the boys of these small schools but the families and small communities as well. Ten other single digit, low-rating 2A-6A teams are suffering as well with fewer boys on the team after injuries.

Autumn’s Friday Night Lights is as Americana as ‘mom’ and ‘apple pie.’ Take away high school football and you might as well take away the tractor from the farmer and needle point from gramma.

As a society, we put our young boys down enough as it is. Eight-man football shows we can look at current results and its past success in Kentucky and elsewhere in Midwestern states like Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas, adjust our model and lift our boys up to a level playing field they rightly deserve.

Also, don’t worry about available college football scholarships if you play eight-man football at your small high school school. Leighton VanderEsch, (Boise State/Dallas Cowboys), Dean Steinkuhler, (Outland Trophy winner at University of Nebraska/Houston Oilers), Rashaan Salaam, (Heisman winner at University of Colorado/Chicago Bears), Gaines Adams, (Clemson/Buccaneers), Chris Penn, (Tulsa/Chiefs), Spencer Brown, (Northern Iowa/Buffalo Bills), Jack Pardee, (Texas A&M/Dallas Cowboys), Turik Cohen, (North Carolina A&I/Chicago Bears), Josh Brown, (Nebraska/Seahawks), Nolan Cromwell, (Kansas/Rams), Chad Greenwell, (Iowa/Vikings), Josh Brown, (Nebraska/Seahawks), Isaiahh Loudermilk, (Wisconsin/Steelers) are just a few of many eight-man players that succeeded with D-1 scholarships and beyond.

Ike Lawrence
Ike Lawrence

Ike Lawrence was all-state honorable mention tight-end/defensive-end for Sayre Spartans.