In South Dakota, we are used to seeing 11-man and 9-man football across the state, but in the small town of Newcastle, Nebraska, these nine players make their walk to the field, to play the same game, in a very different way. Six....man...football.
"In the past we played 8 man, which basically in 8-man the guard and center is ineligible, in six man everybody is eligible so center and guard are eligible so it makes your defense a lot different. The field size is the same so a lot of open field tackling kind of thing and it really makes it a track meet in a way, you gotta make your open field tackles." says head coach Tim Schindler.
And there are other rule changes that go along with six man football. In a typical game it's ten yards for a first down. Here, it starts first and 15. And this play, usually a two point conversion is an extra point in six man. While the typical extra point... is a two point conversion. And with all of this open field and a limited number of players, these guys have to be ready to play ball all game long.
"Last game, me and a couple of other guys never left the field. You get to the fourth quarter and your are panting and panting, just getting ready for the game to end sometimes." says quarterback Jacob Tanderup.
But it was a sacrifice players wanted to make. Before the season, enrollment numbers were way down, and it was in question whether they would even have a team.
"Our numbers and enrollment figures got so low that at one point we even thought about not having a football team this year. I don't think that is fair to the kids so we felt we would make every effort to get a football team of some sort so those kids could have that enjoyment." says Newcaslte Administator Craig Frerichs.
And the response from the kids, knowing it was six-man or no football, has been great for this small town.
"It's been really positive for six-man football. It's different and I think it's something that they enjoy because of that and I think that just being able to know that they can play some football and have some fun."
In Newcastle Nebraska, Patrick Hills, K-S-F-Y Sports.