Gunnery and Millbrook to Start Eight-Player Football In New England
The Gunnery and Millbrook School (Millbrook, NY) are proud to announce the start of eight-player football among New England preparatory schools.
In early October, The Gunnery and Millbrook School announced plans to start an eight-player football initiative among New England preparatory schools. The goal of the initiative is to provide a viable, long-term alternative to the game in its traditional form. Since the initial announcement, Pomfret School and Forman School have agreed to participate and play will begin in 2016.
Eight-player football is full-pad, full-tackle football and is popular among West Coast independent schools, and in small towns--towns with small high school populations--around the country, including in Texas, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Eight-player football preserves all the football-specific experiences of the eleven-player version, but requires a smaller roster and is played on a slightly smaller field. High school participants in eight-player teams have gone on to compete in college and even professional football.
This initiative is a response to declining interest in football in the pre-collegiate years and the trend toward sport specialization, both of which make fielding competitive teams difficult for many independent schools. Eight-player football is a creative solution that allows schools to maintain football and the many traditions surrounding it.
The Gunnery’s Head of School, Peter Becker said, “Eight-player football returns the sport to the roots of sport in prep schools. Students of all ranges of experience and size can contribute meaningfully as the more wide-open format depends on athleticism, fitness, and finesse. Participating on an eight-player football team can develop in students the same character traits and life lessons of teamwork, discipline, and sportsmanship that are possible through eleven-player football--all the reasons our schools instituted sports as integral parts of the curriculum in the first place. As evidenced by its success among relatively small, co-ed independent boarding and day schools in California, Thacher and Cate among them, eight-player football can create on campus the same school spirit and community enthusiasm as the sport’s eleven-player form.”
Founded in 1850 by abolitionist, educator, and outdoorsman Frederick Gunn, The Gunnery is a coeducational college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9 through 12/post-graduate. Dedicated teacher-mentor-coaches challenge students to reach their full potential in a home-like setting where character and citizenship are valued as much as intellect and achievement. Individualized attention and high expectations help young learners develop not only the skills and confidence they will need in college, but also the moral compass and love of learning that will serve them well in life. The school attracts ambitious, academically curious students who will both shine as unique individuals and thrive as contributing members of a deeply connected community. By the time they graduate, Gunnery students have become well rounded, grounded young adults with a sharpened sense of who they are and who they want to become.