FLORENCE - Eight-man football can be a punishing game, but it's a game that Florence High School is much better equipped to play than the regular 11-man version.
"We played 11-man and our enrollment was less than all the eight-man teams that were in the eight-man conference," Florence football coach Kent Walstrom said.
Last year, Florence had to cancel its final three games due to injuries depleting an already thin roster. That left no choice but to make the switch.
"To be honest with you, I think we waited a bit long, but I think the understanding is there with the situation we were faced with last year," Athletic Director Kris Johnson said.
In 11-man football, there's a five-man offensive line, but in eight-man football, there's a three-man offensive line with two guards and one tackle.
"It went way faster," said JV player Andrew Hirn. "One mistake can cost a lot of yards or even touchdowns."
The JV team already played a year of eight-man football last season, so they've already seen the benefits of the new format.
"Especially with the numbers we have, taking three less people off the field is really going to help us with energy and getting hurt and stuff like that," said varsity player Kaden Schuls.
Although the Bobcats have fewer players on the field now, they still play with enough excitement for a full roster.
Florence will play independently of any conference in football this year. After the season, Florence will join a conference with other schools that play eight-man football.