Is Oregon 8-Man Football On Its Last Legs?

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John L. Braese

WILSONVILLE – A decision made Monday, Dec. 11 by the Executive Board of the Oregon School Activities Association has moved three teams out of the smallest football division in the state.

Citing increasing student populations at Bonanza, Lost Rivers and Myrtle Point, the board unanimously approved the three teams to move up to the 2A level. The teams, all playing football in the 1A 8-Man District 1 this past season will play 2A 9-man football starting in the fall.

All three teams qualified for the recently completed 1A state playoffs with Bonanza falling in the first round, Myrtle Point falling in the semifinals and Lost River winning it all in the championship game versus Crane.

The OSAA considered a three-year average regarding student population and heard testimony from the schools before making the decision. Bonanza has averaged 10.8 percent above the 1A threshold over the past three years while Lost River has averaged 13.5 percent above the allotted 1A numbers. Although not in attendance at the meeting, Myrtle Point submitted written correspondence requesting to be moved to the 2A ranks and has averaged 2.7 percent above the 1A cutoff.

In addition, not discussed on Monday was Enterprise, a team that is expected to be moved back to 2A after a meeting of the OSAA Football Ad Hoc Committee. The Outlaws played to a 7-3 record this past season and beat Cove in round one of the state playoffs with both winning percentage and a playoff win criteria used to move a team back up a level.

Last season, 20 teams played in the 1A 8-man division, separated into three leagues. With Bonanza, Lost River, Myrtle Point already departing and probable Enterprise will also be forced back to 2A, a total of 16 teams will not compete for a state title next season in the 8-man ranks. Without a change made by the OSAA, the 1A 8-man Special District 1 is left with four teams.

In comparison, 28 teams play 6-man football and 36 teams play 9-man football (this number will be 35 next season as Glide is being made to return to 3A).

The ultimate decision on what to do with 16 8-man teams will come down to those on the ad hoc committee overseeing football. The committee is scheduled to convene Thursday, Dec. 14 at the OSAA offices.

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