#FNEWeek4: STAB making history with eight-man game

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- When St. Anne's Belfield takes the field against Greenbrier Christian, the Saints will make history. It will be the first eight on eight game in Virginia high school football history.

"I'm excited to try something new," said STAB head coach John Blake. "They're making history here. This is the first Virginia eight on eight game."

"We're excited to get out there and show everyone its not too different," said junior quarterback Chase Emmert. "Its just still football and we're really excited."

The biggest difference has been the adjustment to have only eight players, instead of the usual 11 on each side of the ball. Other than that, the Saints have been going about practice and preparing for the game as they usually would.

"We're going to keep it as similar as we can to 11 man," Blake said. "The only difference that we're playing is we only need five men on the line of scrimmage and the field's skinnier."

"Coach Blake's kept it pretty normal with practice schedule, what we're doing," said senior linebacker Gabe Sanok. "Offensive plays, defensive plays. Its just three less guys are out there whenever we're doing it."

Offensively, the Saints said the play calling will be the same as what they run in 11 man games. Against Greenbrier, they will just be down two offensive lineman and a skill position player.

"For us, we do very few things anyway," Blake said. "So I think we're just going to have to mold that into the eight man game."

"We're going to pass the ball a little bit more," Emmert said. "Maybe run the ball a little bit more with me. But, it will be fun."

Defensively, STAB plans to use their size up front and stack the box. They have been practicing a 3-2-3 alignment. Blake said stopping the pass will be much more difficult with only eight players, but he plans on playing more man-to-man defense in eight man games.

While its a different experience, the Saints say they hope its something that catches with other schools. STAB is one of just three Virginia schools to play eight man football this season.

"If its something that catches on, it will be pretty awesome to be the first guys to do it," Sanok said. "If this is going to be what keeps the football program alive, whether its for our school or other schools around the state, then its the best way to go forward."