ELLINWOOD — Ellinwood will participate at the 2A level in all other athletics and activities, however, in football they have moved to eight man football.
Football classifications are labeled as follows: 6A, 5A, 4A I, 4A II, 3A, 2-1A, 8-man Div I, 8-man Div II.
Schools are eligible to make the move to 8 man when a new scheduling cycle starts if their grades 9-11 enrollment is below 100. Ellinwoods was 97.
“After some unexpected enrollment changes, Ellinwood became eligible for, and will be making the move from 11-man football to eight man,” said Kip Wilson, athletic director of USD 355. “This transition is for a minimum of two years and we will be competing in Eight-man Division I, along with the majority of our league members in the CPL. This will be a new experience for the district, but we feel it is in the best interest of our student-athletes. Long-term enrollment projections suggest that there is a very good chance that we will be back to eleven-man at some point, however it’s difficult to predict for exactly which scheduling cycle that would be.
“Initially, we had mixed-feelings about the move to 8-man, but the decision became pretty clear when we weighed the pros and cons against the needs of our program. From a participation standpoint, we have 47% of the boys in our school going out for football, which is very consistent with past trends at Ellinwood High School, as well as with the schools in our current league (MCAA), our future league (CPL), and other schools around the area.”
“Obviously, there are some significant differences between the eight-man and 11-man games, one of which being the size of the field,” he said. “KSHSAA gives eight-man schools the option of keeping the traditional 100x50 yard field, reducing to an 80x40 yard field, or keeping the 100 yard distance, but reducing the width to 40 yards. At this point, we are trying to factor in community needs as well as the logistics that come into play when you move field goal posts, pylon anchors, sprinkler heads, etc. in order to come to a decision that will work best for everyone involved.”
“The CPL has been great to work with through this process, and the change substantially improves our ability to fill our football schedule with league schools of comparable size,” said Wilson.