Every Wednesday during the regular season we will highlight the 8-Player Football game with a spotlight article on WisSports.net. We'll look back at the action and big stories from the previous week, look ahead at the coming week's big match-ups, and select a Star of the Week.
8-Player coaches, please enter player stats on WSN so that we can continue having the necessary information to produce this weekly spotlight of your game, and feel free to send any news or information to us as well.
With 11 new teams moving to 8-Player football this year, we knew it was going to be a bit of an unpredictable 2019. It sure started that way, as defending state champion Sevastopol opened the year with a 40-22 loss against Suring, who is in its first year playing 8-Player football. More on him later, but Logan Stuart of Suring had a huge game, accounting for nearly all of the team's yards while flying around the field on defense as well.
Suring wasn't the only new team to get its first victory last weekend. Belmont opened things on Thursday with a 19-6 win over Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah. Wabeno/Laona topped Wausaukee 30-18 behind 151 yards and two scores on the ground by Ethan Westimayer. Algoma shutout Green Bay NEW Lutheran/Oneida as Brett Benesh and Oliver Robertson each eclipsed 100 rushing yards.
Marion/Tigerton is in its first year of 8-Player football after struggling in 11-Player the last few years. The team's 32-18 win over White Lake/Elcho snapped a 15-game overall losing streak.
Williams Bay's foray to 8-Player after several years co-oping with Delavan-Darien in 11-Player did not go so well, as the team was shutout 60-0 by New London (IA), the 8-Player state champion in Iowa last year.
Luck has been the most consistent team in 8-Player Football since it was relaunched in 2012, and the Cardinals opened the year with another dominating rushing performance, going for 446 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground in a 72-32 win over Mellen.
McDonell Central is famous for some incredible passing numbers going back decades, and Tanner Opsal continued that tradition with a state-best 341 passing yards in a 42-40 comeback win over Port Edwards, despite throwing three interceptions in the game. Port got 245 yards and four touchdowns from quarterback Quinton Tranel on the ground, but he completed just three-of-20 passes in the loss.
There is still a lot of uncertainty in 8-Player after the top few teams, with so many new programs joining the fray this season. Gibraltar qualified for the playoffs last year but went down to Florence in a blowout in Week 1. The Vikings will look to rebound in Week 2 against Gillett, a team expected to push for the top spot in the MONLPC-8.
Also Thursday, Sevastopol will try to get back on track after dropping its first game of the year, but it won't be easy against an Algoma team that is larger than most 8-Player teams and showed they are ready to go from the beginning in the first year of 8-Player after a 32-0 shutout of Green Bay NEW Lutheran/Oneida.
Newman Catholic and McDonell Catholic are two of the top passing teams in the 8-Player game, each featuring quarterbacks that threw for more than 300 yards last week. Newman has featured the better all-around club the last couple years, but McDonell gets to host their game this weekend.
A matchup of ranked teams in a Lakeland non-conference crossover sees #3 Siren travel to #8 Prairie Farm. Both teams were dominating winners last week.
There were some big performances this week, but none can top what Logan Stuart of Suring did in helping the Eagles knock off defending state champion Sevastopol 40-22 to claim the program's first official 8-Player victory. He carried the ball 32 times for 345 yards with five touchdowns, including two fourth-quarter scores to help put the game away after it was a one-score contest at the beginning of the period. He was a terror on defense as well, racking up 22 tackles as the Eagles kept the Pioneer offense relatively in check.
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