High school 8-man football looks to next season


The summer months bring about a time for high school athletes to celebrate the end of the school year and enjoy some time off from sports before the seasons begin. For the local eight-man football programs, the summer vacation is shortened as the programs prepare for a new season with new opponents.

The eight-man style of football has been a growing trend over the past two seasons and now has grown into a league of its own within Section IV.

In Tompkins County, Newfield and Lansing return to eight-man football and are joined by a Trumansburg program that, after having seen no football at the school the past few seasons, will jump into the more participation friendly style of the game.

With the July 4 festivities out of the way, county teams can start preparing for the beginning of practices, which begin in August, with conditioning camps and strategically based competitions like passing tournaments.

The schedules have been released for the eight-man season, and as the teams prepare for the start of the 2019 season, it provides an opportunity to look ahead at what is to come.

A difference from previous seasons, the schedules for the Tompkins County eight-man programs only have each team meet once per season, something that was not the case last year.

Lansing Bobcats

The bobcats rolled through the regular season in 2018, putting together a lethal ground attack and a suffocating defense that were led by a stellar senior class. Now, as the summer rolls on and new faces enter the starting roster, Brett Hotchkiss and his coaching staff are left with a number of key rolls to fill on both sides of the ball including the entire offensive backfield.
The Bobcats are wasting little time finding their replacements, using offseason workouts and the summer 7-on-7 league to their advantage. The biggest test for the fresh-faced Bobcats looks to be a meeting with Elmira Notre Dame, the team that ended the Bobcat’s season in a 38-20 decision last October.

Newfield Trojans

The Trojans had a similar situation to many of the school’s sporting team, in that the roster saw a plethora of younger talent that needs to develop into experienced starters. Anytime a smaller school drops to an eight-man program, the transition can be a long process, but the Trojans showed the foundations for what could be a breakthrough season for the program.
With many of the players coming back still being underclassmen, this summer and ensuing fall season could be pivotal for the success of the program moving forward. The 2019 schedule is built in favor of the Trojans through the middle portion of the slate. After beginning with Oxford and Lansing, the Trojans are slated to play Unadilla Valley, one of the programs two 2018 victories, before meeting with newcomer Trumansburg and former 11-man program Thomas A. Edison.

Trumansburg Blue Raiders

There is a lot that goes into building a program from the ground up, after not having football at the school since 2014, but luckily for the Blue Raiders, the program has spent the last few seasons merging with Section V schools based out of South Seneca School District. While the original plan was to get the team onto the field for the 2020 season, things have accelerated, and the Blue Raiders will be waiting for the rest of Section IV this fall.

While no coaching staff has officially been announced yet, the Blue Raiders will have their hands full beginning in week one when they take on Elmira Notre Dame. Things will settle down for Trumansburg when week two kicks off with a matchup with Thomas A. Edison.

While the kickoff for the football season is still two months away, the preparations for the season have already begun, and it’s only a matter of time before football is back in Tomkins County.


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