It appears that three of the county’s six middle schools will not have enough kids to field a football team this season.
Williamson Pre-K 8, which will now be located in West End at the old Riverside Elementary site, does not have enough kids for a team. Last year the team had to fold because they didn’t have enough kids to finish the season.
The word from Kermit Middle School is that they may also not have enough players to field a team.
Then surprisingly, the defending county champs, Burch Middle School, is also trying to get enough players to have a team.
It looks like if there are any kids from Williamson who want to play football, they may be able to go over to Delbarton and play for the Bulldogs. At the same time, if Kermit doesn’t have enough players, those kids will most likely be allowed to go play with Lenore.
This co-op agreement is okay, but most fans hate the fact that there are not enough kids to field a team in their own school. Many of the kids from the Williamson area have enrolled at Belfry Middle School, thus that has hurt the numbers for the Cubpack.
Williamson, Burch, Matewan and Gilbert eventually feed into Mingo Central High School. So having those kids play together is okay, but it would be so much better if all of the schools were able to have their own teams.
The same goes for Kermit and Lenore, they both feed into Tug Valley. So having them play on the same team is not such a bad idea.
Mingo County may want to look into some 6-man football. Six-man football was developed in 1934 by Nebraska High School Coach Stephen Epler as an alternative means for small high schools to field a football team during the Great Depression.
Six-man is a fast-moving game played on an 80-yard long by 40-yard wide field, instead of the normal 100-yard field used in 11-man football.
All six players are eligible to be receivers. On offense, three linemen are required on the line of scrimmage at the start of the play. The person to whom the ball is snapped cannot run the ball past the line of scrimmage; however, if the ball is tossed to another player, that player can run or throw the ball and the person to whom the ball was snapped is still an eligible receiver.
Even larger states like Texas and Florida have some 6-man football teams. Texas has 195 teams, while Florida has 32 playing 6-man football. But, the sparsely populated states like Nebraska, Montana and Wyoming have a lot of 6-man football playing schools. Some places have gone to 8-man football, with basically the same rules.
This might be an alternative for smaller middle schools and even high schools in West Virginia.
But for now, 11-man football is still the game in Mingo County and the Mountain State.
(Kyle Lovern is the sports editor for the Williamson Daily News. Comments or story ideas can be sent to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org)