RECTOR, Ark. (KAIT) - Rector High School football coach Dave Hendrix has been coaching football for over 20 years. All of his coaching experience has been coaching 11-man teams.
Now, the Rector Cougar team will be playing eight-man football this season for the first time.
“We knew this was coming down the road,” Hendrix said. "First eight-man game I’ve ever seen, we’ll be a part of, so we’re kind of learning on the run, but you know, our kids will come out and play hard I know that.”
Rector is a small community in Region 8 with just over 2,000 people in the town.
This year, with a small senior class the decision was made to go from the normal 11-man team to an eight-man team.
“When you’re a small school, that’ll set you back a little bit," Coach Hendrix said. "We’re just proud we have an opportunity to play.”
The Cougars, a 2A Region 3 team before moving to the eight-man league, are coming off of a season where they made the playoffs with 22 players on the team.
Coach Hendrix said the recent success has made the transition a bit harder, but he says the team has been resilient.
He adds that he wants his team, now with 16 players on the roster, to play like nothing has changed.
“We don’t want these guys to think that anything’s any different," Coach Hendrix said. "We’ve had some really good groups, but hey, these guys are good too. We’re going to go out, play as hard as we can.”
Hendrix adds the hope is to return to an 11-man team within the next two years.