Three teams will be moving to 8-Man football over the next two years, impacting local games.
Chequamegon High School from Park Falls will make the move starting in the 2019 season and Greenwood and Gilman High Schools will start in the 2020 season.
Chequamegon currently plays 11-Man football in the Marawood Conference and will become the second team to leave the conference to play 8-Man Football after Philips made the move in 2017. Along with Pittsville High School’s move to the Central Wisconsin Conference in 2017, this will leave the Marawood Conference with only 6 football members for the 2019 season.
Stratford Athletic Director Brad Grube confirmed that Stratford is currently looking for a 4th non-conference game to be played in Week 9 to fill the hole that has been created in their schedule.
Chequamegon will not be eligible to participate in the 8-Man Football Playoff as their enrollment is over the 200 student threshold to participate.
Greenwood and Gilman High Schools both made the 2018 football playoffs: Gilman was a three seed and finished third in the Cloverwood Conference, and Greenwood was an 8 seed. Both teams will compete in 11-Man Football in 2019 before moving to 8-Man in 2020.
When asked, Michael Lambrecht, Athletic Director at Cloverwood Conference member Loyal said the 2020 shift in their conference would have less of an effect on them.
“The WIAA and the WFCA (Wisconsin Football Coaches Association) are working together to form football-only conferences for 2020,” said Lambrecht. “Each school is assigned a 7 or 8 team conference. Each school would still be able to choose their week 1 and 2 games and would have their conference games weeks 3-9.
“In the preliminary draft that they sent out, we were in a 7-team conference with Gilman and Greenwood and we had a scheduled crossover game with another conference to fill our schedule. With the number of schools that have switched to 8-man football, there will be numerous changes to the draft that was originally put out.”
“I think many schools, especially schools in the same conference of those going to 8-man football, are glad that the WIAA is reassigning schools in football-only conferences.”
In 2012, the reinstatement of a reduced-player option became available as 16 teams opted for the 8-player format. The top four teams in two separate regions met for a four-game jamboree at the end of the season.
In 2018, the first sanctioned 8-player state tournament was held with eight teams qualifying for the playoffs. Sevastopol was the first 8-player champion with 38-30 win over Luck in the championship game, which was held at Stanley-Boyd High School on the same weekend as Level 3 of the 11-player playoffs, according to the WIAA website.