Harvester participates in eight-on-eight football, meaning that each team is allowed only eight players on the field at one time instead of the 11 players allowed in traditional tackle football. Furthermore, the games are played on a field that’s 80 yards long and 40 yards wide as opposed to the 100-yard long and 50 yards wide playing surface in 11-man football.
However, this format of football has seen a growth in popularity in the Southeast and with smaller private schools such as Harvester.
“We’ve played 11-man football before but this structure fits our facility better with the number of kids at the school,” head coach Jeff Reagan said, currently in his second year leading the team. “On the field, you eliminate two tackles and one running back on offense. Defensively, there’s a three-man front, leading to a high-scoring game similar to arena football.”
The Hawks have had a dramatic improvement on the field, going from a 0-9 campaign last season to a record of 10-0 this year, including a thrilling 36-30 postseason win over Heritage Christian Academy of Sharpsburg last Friday, advancing to the semifinals of Independent Christian Schools of Georgia-Alabama (ICSGA) playoffs.
Running back Raymond Price had 161 yards rushing, including the game-winning touchdown, in the victory. Price, along with Zach Eichelkraut, have each rushed for more than 1,000 yards on the season.
Defensively, Bryce Yerkey’s 97 tackles leads the team while his twin brother Bennett Yerkey and Logan Moss also are top performers for the unit. Eichelkraut had a team-high 21 tackles in the Heritage win.
“This year has been great,” Reagan said. “The kids are hungry and working hard. We’ve seen progress in our weight lifting program and the players are fighters with great attitudes.”
The Hawks return to action this Friday in the league semifinals at home at Post Road Park in Winston against Lafayette Christian.