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Meadowview to play eight-man football

Meadowview Christian will play eight-man football next season in the Alabama Christian Education Association.--File Photo

Meadowview Christian will play eight-man football next season in the Alabama Christian Education Association.–File Photo

Meadowview Christian will move to the Alabama Christian Education Association’s eight-man football league for the 2014-2015 school year.

The Trojans’ football team will officially play under the Christian Football Association, which in conjunction with the ACEA, oversees the eight-man football league. School officials said the move — which became official in early April — was made because the Trojans’ football team has been low in numbers in recent years, making it hard to compete with many of the schools in the Alabama Independent School Association.

“We had been thinking about it the last number of years due to the low numbers we’ve had in football so we decided to make a move,” Meadowview Christian head football coach Lebo Jones said. “We think it is going to be a positive thing for our school.”

Meadowview Christian headmaster Renee Callen said the move has been looked at positively by most of the students.

“Change is always hard but the coaches and the students are really okay with the change,” Callen said. “They are positive about it and they understand it will be best for them to compete against schools more [their size].”

Callen said the main reason for the change is that the Trojans do not have enough depth to deal with injuries, so the majority of players had to play both offense and defense.

When the season came to a close last year, Meadowview had 14 healthy players on the roster.

Jones said after next season, when a large senior class graduates, the Trojans were going to be hard pressed to find enough players to field an 11-man team.

“We are going to have six or seven seniors this year and after that it really falls off, so we would have really struggled next year to have an 11-man team for sure,” Jones said.

Jones is expecting around 20 players to come out for spring training, which will begin in May.

Eight-man football operates under most of the same runs as 11-man football. The main differences are that in eight-man, both offensive tackles are taken off the field and one backfield player is removed.

Also, the field is only 40 yards wide compared to 53-yards on a normal football field. The Trojans will still play their games at Wasden Field and will just shorten the width.

During the 1980’s, Meadowview Christian had a dominant run in AISA football, winning four championships over a six year span.

The Trojans won championships in 1974, 1982, 1984, 1986 and 1987 in AISA Class AAA. Meadowview also played for championships in 1992 in AAA and in 2007 after dropping to AISA Class A.

Meadowview went 7-44 over the last five seasons playing AISA football.

“Meadowview was a powerhouse back in the 80’s but that has been 30 years ago and like I told our kids and the people I’ve talked to, we have to be the best we can and do the best we can with what we’ve got,” Jones said.

Meadowview’s football opponents next season will include New Life Christian Academy from Millbrook, Tabernacle Christian from Gardendale, Tuscaloosa Christian, Victory Christian from Columbus, Miss. and East Memorial Christian Academy — who like Meadowview, is making the swap to ACEA next season.

Meadowview’s other sports programs will also move to the ACEA.

School officials said the move started with football in mind, but it ended up being  easier to move all of the school’s sports programs to the ACEA.

According to the ACEA’s webpage, the association oversees thirteen state championships and had over 800 athletes compete in sports last season.