STAB Football Prepares for Some 8-Man Football Games in 2017
STAB quarterback Chase Emmert
Football at Saint Anne's Belfield will look a little different this year, at least for a few games.
For the first time ever, STAB will play some 8-man football games, three to be exact. The other six games will be the traditional 11-man football.
It's a move many schools the size of St. Anne's Belfield are making and the players are excited for the change.
In practice the Saints are working a lot on tackling.
"One of our big goals this year is to tackle better," says head coach John Blake. "We were not very good at tackling last year. We have three goals and one of them is to tackle better."
The team's starting quarterback is junior Chase Emmert. He got some game experience last year and he has a big-play wide receiver to work with in Myles Ward.
"I can just throw the ball to him all day and I just have all the confidence he's going to come down with it," says Emmert.
"I can stretch the field with power and speed," says Ward. "I like to draw a lot of attention so it gives other players a chance to catch the ball."
The guys are preparing for something new this year, 8-man football games.
Ward says, "Everybody's excited. It's a lot different that I thought it would be. There's a lot more space even though the field's condensed, but it's still fun."
"It's a great game, its wide open, there's a lot of offense, says coach Blake. "It's what supposed to sell tickets is part of this game. Everything fundamentally is the same."
Emmert says, "It's going to be different but at the end of the day there's still a ball, there's still tackling and there's a winner and a loser so we're just going to go out there and play football."
Whether the Saints are playing with three men in the trenches or five, that's where their strength is, where they return all of last year's starters.
STAB senior lineman Gabe Sanok says, "This year since we have everybody back we don't need to worry about building chemistry and stuff like that. The quarterback being able to trust his line and know that we have each other's back is going to be huge for making the whole offense better."
Emmert adds, "Obviously every year the goal is to go to the playoffs and compete for a state championship and I don't see why we can't do that this year."
STAB's season opener is Friday, September 1st at Hargrave Military. That's an 11-on-11 game.
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Marty Hudtloff is the Sports Director at WVIR-TV. He joined the NBC29 sports team in October of 2003. He has a degree in broadcast journalism from Bradley University. You can reach out to Marty via Email or Twitter.