The Duncan Banner


September 20, 2013

A taste of what’s to come

Game against Duke previews what Donkeys may expect in eight-man next year

BRAY — The Donkeys are going to get a taste of what they will be playing next year.

The Bray-Doyle High School football team, currently in Class A 11-man football, will move down to Class B next and enter eight-man football.

This year, though, the Donkeys will get to experience eight-man football as they will host Duke Friday for their homecoming game.

Originally, Bray-Doyle was to host Riverside Indian, but the Class 2A school cancelled its season because of a lack of players. The Donkeys thus needed an opponent this week and found one in Duke, an eight-man squad.

So the Donkeys will take a break from 11-man action this week and spend this week preparing for eight-man — and it’s a transition that Donkey coach Lee Bluejacket admits has been a bit difficult.

“It has been tough because the reads in eight-man versus 11-man are a lot different,” he said. “You still have to block and tackle, but the reads are different.”

What’s more, the Donkeys didn’t get to take the field Tuesday because of a thunderstorm. That limted the Donkeys to practicing in the gym and thus they weren’t able to get in the type of practice they might have otherwise, Bluejacket said.

But the Bray-Doyle coach said it may help to have an eight-man game this week, given that the Donkeys are dealing with injuries to several of their linemen.

“We don’t have a lot of depth right now,” Bluejacket said, “but it will give us a chance to put fewer kids on the field, some young kids on the field, and it should help us out.”

Bluejacket added that Bray-Doyle’s enrollment would have allowed the team to play down in eight-man in years past, but the school previously chose not to. But the Donkeys will make the move to eight-man next season and it’s a move Bluejacket said the players and community are excited about.

“It has been some of the most fun time in practice, getting to play and learn eight-man,” he said. “I’m an eight-man guy and next year will be good for them to be in eight-man, because it’s a chance for them to be more successful.”

He said he was glad Duke was willing to fit Bray-Doyle into the schedule. Given that the Donkeys have played two 11-man games to open the season, Bluejacket said he didn’t exchange film with Duke coaches, given that they wouldn’t have been able to see how Bray-Doyle has played eight-man this season. But Bluejacket said he understands that Duke runs a four-man front and tries to spread the field.

More importantly, he said the Donkeys are having a good time learning what eight-man is all about.

“All of them really do like it,” Bluejacket said. “They are having a blast and are ready to do it. The underclassmen are looking forward to it and believe they will be more competitive.”

In particular, Bluejacket said, the switch to eight-man will help with depth, something that has been an issue for Bray-Doyle this season.

“The kids realize the situation,” he said, “and that’s it tough when we have about 25 guys on a team and we play some schools that have 40 guys on a team. They can rotate in guys and we’re playing like we are iron men.”

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Should the date for The World's Largest Garage Sale be changed from the third weekend in July to sometime in October to take advantage of cooler weather like we had this past weekend?

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