THE CHAMPIONSHIP: The second Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association eight-player football State championship final will be held Saturday, Nov. 16, at Dorais Field in Chippewa Falls, Wis., at 1 p.m. Chippewa Falls High School will serve as the host of the event.
PURCHASE TICKETS: Ticket prices for the event are $10 per game and $1 for children 6-years old and under. Tickets are available at the schools and are available at the venue the day of the game.
LIVE STREAMED ON THE WEB: The eight-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 without requirement of 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. The first year featured an eight-team bracket. Reduced-player football has had a long history in the association. The WIAA introduced a reduced-player football option for the first time in 1937 with a six-player opportunity intended to serve small schools. An eight-player option was introduced a few years later, and prior to 1941, there were 90 schools playing either six- or eight-player football. World War II had an impact as the number of reduced-player teams declined to 70. In 1950, there were 50 six-player teams and 26 eight-player squads. By 1956, the eight-player game had all but replaced the six-player option as 71 programs were playing eight-player to only six schools sponsoring the six-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 are 42 programs sponsoring eight-player football in 2019. There are several schools participating in the eight-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 eight-player tournament.
LAST YEAR: Sevastopol won the first eight-player football State championship game with a 38-30 victory over Luck. The game was played at Forward Field at Oriole Park in Stanley, Wis. Trailing 30-22 in the fourth quarter, Nathan Stenzel gave Sevastopol its first lead of the game with 4-yard run with 2:08 remaining in the game to break a 30-30 tie and propel the Pioneers to the title.
THE MATCH-UP: Last year’s runner-up Luck is back in the title game for the second year. Prior to transitioning to the eight-player option, the Cardinals qualified for the 11-player playoffs 14 times in either Division 6 or Division 7 with an 8-14 playoff record. Their furthest advance in the 11-player playoffs was to Level 3 in Division 6 in 1996 and 1997. Newman Catholic qualified for the eight-player playoffs for the second straight season. Last year, they fell in Level 2 of the playoffs to eventual champion Sevastopol. They made five 11-player playoff appearances and compiled a 2-5 record. Their furthest advance in the 11-player playoffs was to Level 3 in 2010.
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.
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, follow us on Instagram at wiaawi, and add us on Snapchat at wiaawis.
NEED RESULTS?: Results and official statistics will be available on the WIAA website www.wiaawi.org/Sports/Fall/8-Player-Football/Tournament following the conclusion of the game. Live game statistics will also be available on the eight-player football tournament page.
WILSON IS THE OFFICIAL BALL: Wilson is the official game ball of the WIAA State eight-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.