By SCOTT TYLER
H-P Sports Editor
OAKWOOD — After years of being one of the smallest 11-man football teams, Oakwood has decided to play six-man football starting next year.
“Over the years our numbers have gone down and it has been hard to fill an 11-man team,” Oakwood Superintendent Dr. Douglas Moore said Tuesday afternoon. “It is not fair to our kids and that is the reason why the board decided to do that.”
The decision to go to six-man football was made during the Oakwood Independent School District Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 29.
Oakwood will enter six-man football when the University Interscholastic League realigns the districts in February. Oakwood will stay in six man for at least two years before deciding to stay or if the numbers change, move back to 11-man football.
The Oakwood football program has struggled in recent years to compete in Class A because of the numbers. Oakwood entered the season as the second-smallest school to field an 11-man football team and the Panthers have had to compete against teams in the district that are double their size.
“This year we had 20 kids from ninth through 12th grade on the team,” Moore said. “And we were playing teams that had 60 and 70 kids in the football program.
“There is no way to compete on equal football with those numbers.”
In 2005, Oakwood finished the season with only 14 players on the team but the school district had to wait until this year to make the decision to go to six-man football.
Despite being one of the smallest schools to play 11-man football, Oakwood got a pair of shutout wins against Colmesneil and Covington, who along with Oakwood also are going to go to six-man football next year.
“Our kids play as hard as any other team, but we just don’t have the pool of players to pick from like these other teams,” Moore said.
Scott Tyler may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org