Elgin gets petition approved
Elgin athletic director Paul Willmarth announced that the school’s football program has succesfully petitioned the OSAA to compete as an independent 8-man squad in the upcoming season, rendering the program ineligible to compete in any postseason.
The move comes after Elgin went 5-3 playing 8-man football at the Class 1A level last season. Elgin head coach Brock Eckstein said he is not worried about keeping his players in spite of having no postseason to play for.
“After we went winless playing 11-man football in 2012, we won our first four games last season, and the kids had such a huge motivation boost after the hot start,” Eckstein said. “These kids have worked so hard over the summer, and will continue to work hard because they just love to win. I know they’re going to be ready to go this fall, and I have full confidence in them.”
Eckstein said the success of Union opting to play 8-man football for three years until returning to the 11-man ranks last season was a factor that inspired him to petition the OSAA.
“We saw what they did, and decided numbers-wise, that was the best route to go,” Eckstein said. “We had 20 kids on the team last season, so it was really difficult for us to play when we couldn’t have full 11-on-11 scrimmages.”
Eckstein also said the decision was also a result of Elgin High School’s decreasing enrollment. Elgin is expected to have an enrollment next fall of less than 100 students. Staying in the Blue Mountain Conference would have forced the Huskies to compete against the likes of Grant Union and Burns, two schools with enrollments of over 300 students.