From the WIAA — 

THE CHAMPIONSHIP: The third Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association 8-player football State championship final will be held Saturday, Nov. 13, at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School at 1 p.m.

ADMISSION TICKETS: The WIAA uses GoFan Ticketing for all digital and cashless tickets. Admission is $11 plus online fees for adults and students. All tickets must be redeemed on a mobile device. To purchase tickets, visit the WIAA website at:  https://www.wiaawi.org/Tickets.

COVID PROVISIONS:  Fully vaccinated individuals should consider wearing a mask in areas of high likelihood of transmission. In addition, masks are strongly encouraged for individuals not fully vaccinated.

LIVE STREAMED ON WIAA.TV:  The 8-player football championship game will be streamed live on the WIAA.TV portal of the NFHS Network on a consumer subscription basis. To purchase a subscription to the live programming, log-on to www.wiaa.tv and click on the “Subscribe” link at the top of the page. Archived streams of the games will be available on demand on the NFHS Network 72 hours after the tournament with a subscription.

EIGHT-PLAYER HISTORY:  In the first year the WIAA has sponsored a State Tournament Series for reduced-player football, Sevastopol defeated Luck 38-30 in the title game played at Stanley-Boyd. In the second championship game in 2019 at Chippewa Falls, Luck defeated Newman Catholic 42-27. The first year featured an eight-team bracket that was expanded to a 16-team bracket in 2019. There was no championship game in 2020 because of COVID-19 guidelines and accommodations. Reduced-player football has had a long history in the association.  Only one level of the playoff was offered. The WIAA introduced a reduced-player football option for the first time in 1937 with a 6-player opportunity intended to serve small schools. An 8-player option was introduced a few years later, and prior to 1941, there were 90 schools playing either 6- or 8-player football. World War II had an impact as the number of reduced-player teams declined to 70. In 1950, there were 50 6-player teams and 26 8-player squads. By 1956, the 8-player game had all but replaced the six-player option as 71  programs were playing 8-player to only six schools sponsoring the 6-player option. By 1969, almost every football program was 11-player with the number of teams playing eight-player dwindling to six. In 2012, the WIAA reinstated reduced-player football with 16 teams optioning for the eight-player format that season. For six seasons, the top four teams in two separate regions were afforded an opportunity to match-up and play in a four-game jamboree at the end of the season.

FACTS & FIGURES: There were 57 programs sponsoring 8-player football in 2021 and 35 were tournament eligible. There are several schools participating in the 8-player program that were ineligible for the post-season tournament because their three-year average enrollment exceeds 200, which is the threshold to be eligible for the 8-player tournament.

2019 CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP:  Luck won the second 8-player football State championship game with a 42-27 victory over Newman Catholic. The game was played at Dorais Stadium in Chippewa Falls, Wis. Levi Jensen rushed for 432 yards on 25 carries with five touchdowns for the Cardinals. Jensen also led the Luck defense with a game-high 10.5 tackles.

KEY DIFFERENCES IN THE GAME: In addition to only eight players on the field for each side, the game differs slightly from the 11-player format both in the field configurations and playing rules. The eight-player field is 40 feet (13.3 yards) and the distance between the hash marks are narrower than the 11-player field. The playing rules differ from 11-player in that there must be at least five players on the offensive line of scrimmage at the snap. Each player that is at the end of the line of scrimmage and each of the three players behind the line of scrimmage are eligible and may have any legal jersey number.

POST-GAME INTERVIEWS:  Interviews with coaches and players are not allowed until after the awards ceremonies. No interviews are permitted on the field until after the awards ceremony and the team photos have been taken. WIAA policy prohibits access to locker rooms. Interviews with players and coaches should be conducted on the field after awards ceremony.

NEED CREDENTIALS?:  Media Credential requests for the 2021 8-player WIAA Football State Championship must be requested by submitting the online request form located in the restricted media area of the WIAA website by noon Nov. 10. Verification of approved credentials is also available on the restricted media area of the website. Credentials will be available for pick-up upon arrival at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln.

FOLLOW THE FINAL ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Receive updates of the State Football Finals on the WIAA State tournament Twitter account @wiaawistate with the hashtag #wiaafb. Also like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram at wiaawi.

NEED THE QUALIFIERS?:  All rosters and statistic leaders information of qualifying teams are available on the restricted media area of the WIAA website.

NEED RESULTS?:  Results and official statistics will be available on the WIAA website following the conclusion of the game.

WILSON IS THE OFFICIAL BALL:  Wilson is the official game ball of the WIAA State 8-Player Football Final. Wilson footballs are also the official ball at the 11-player football finals and at Levels 3 and 4 of the playoffs. The agreement with Wilson is effective through the 2023 season.


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David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]