With many changes to the game, the game we know as football was a lot different this season.

No tackling, no blitzing, and no helmet or pads in sight. That was the scene on football fields across the state this fall.

While it was a completely different game than what teams are used to playing, that didn’t take away the energy and drive to be out there and play.

“All my guys love football and the rules changes didn’t deter them away,” said Brunswick head coach Dan Cooper. “It didn’t matter what we did, they just wanted to be out there doing anything football related.”

Normally played with 11 players on each side, this year the number dwindled down to seven per side. The offensive and defensive linemen were the main groups to take the hit, but Cooper made sure they got their share of playing time.

“I’m glad our kids in those positions got the opportunity to play this season,” Cooper said. “It was an absolute blast to see our linemen playing quarterback and running routes.”

Brunswick running back and defensive back Cody Larson moved out to wide receiver this year with no running backs in 7 on 7.

“It was cool to switch out to a new position and get better as a player in other parts of the field,” Larson said. “It was definitely entertaining watching our lineman play offense, we always tried to help them out through the season as best as we could.”

Kaiden Tome of Mt. Ararat, right, watches the ball into his hands for a touchdown against Morse in a 7-on-7 football game earlier this season at McMann Field in Bath. Eli Canfield/Times Record

Players did what they could to stay motivated throughout the season. Evan Kilfoil, a wide receiver and defensive back on the Dragons, did everything he could to maintain a positive attitude.

Through the season it was kind of hard to stay motivated but it was definitely reassuring that even though this wasn’t the same as the game we have been playing our whole lives, it was a chance to have fun with your boys and bond as a team,” Kilfoil said. 

For a program like Morse in Bath, the 7-on-7 season was a unique way to begin the transition to 8-man football, something the Shipbuilders announced they would be doing last January. For the defending 8-man champion Mt. Ararat, it was a way to try out new schemes before going back to 8-man next season.

With no playoffs this season, Morse coach Jason Darling decided to get creative during their final practices of the season. 

“We drafted several teams within our team, and had them practice with each other for the final half of practice,” Darling said. “It all accumulated to a 5-on-5 round-robin style tournament in the final practice of the year.”

Players and coaches are still holding onto hope that there will be some sort of tackle football season in the fall, and are ready to play no matter what the circumstances are. 

“For us, it doesn’t matter when or where, we’ll be ready to go whenever they let us,” Cooper said. “We like to run the ball, so cold or wet weather won’t have a huge factor on the way we like to play.”

Cooper and many other coaches remain cautiously optimistic that there will be a season in the early spring, but know things can change quickly in the world we live in today.

“I know it won’t be an eight game schedule, but even an opportunity to play four or five games, that’s all we want,” Cooper said. “I know the MPA and the state will do everything they can to present us that opportunity.”

Kilfoil says him and his teammates used the 7-on-7 season as motivation for what is potential to come in the spring. 

“I think we all just used this season to look forward to what could happen in the spring,” Kilfoil said. “We weren’t looking at the scoreboard this season, we were just looking at ourselves and how we could improve as a team.”

Added Larson: “It was definitely better than having nothing, but I think most of the guys on the team have their eyes on what is potentially to come in the spring.”

Comments are not available on this story.