Gaylord St. Mary Joins 8-Player Ranks in 2019

GAYLORD – Gaylord St. Mary is one of the latest area programs to join the 8-player ranks.

With a decline in school enrollment and a growing number of former Ski Valley Conference opponents having already made the switch, St. Mary joins area schools like Vestaburg and Newberry in making the transition this fall.

“I was able to go to a playoff game for Central Lake, the year they won the finals. You honestly couldn’t tell the difference,” St. Mary senior quarterback Brady Hunter said. “They ran pretty much the same offense we are where everything’s inside. So you really couldn’t tell the difference except there’s no receivers. It’s still football. You’re still hitting people. I like it more. There’s more space for me as a small, fast guy to get out to open space and run.”

The Snowbirds, who went 2-6 in their final year of 11-player, will play an independent schedule in 2019, with a majority of their opponents coming from the Midwest Central Michigan 8-player Conference or the West Michigan D League.

“We’ve only practiced like a few days of actual 8-man. Otherwise, we’ve just been doing the same thing,” St. Mary senior defensive end Kyle Murphy said. “It’s basically the same thing except it’s a little faster.”

St. Mary opens its season at Manistee Catholic Central on Thursday, Aug. 29.

Categories: Football