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Rudyard Adjusts to 8-Man Football

RUDYARD – As the sport of 8-player football continues to grow throughout the state, Rudyard becomes the latest 11-man program to make the jump.

The Bulldogs join the nine-team Bridge Alliance Football League in 2016 and will be paired alongside former Ski Valley Conference foes Pickford and Pellston.

"I’ve learned it’s faster, faster game with more space and more of an emphasis on open-field tackling,” coach Steve Sawyer said. “One tackle may be the difference between a touchdown or not in this game I’ve learned it. It’s a lot of one-on-one, if you can’t tackle in space then you’re in trouble.

“If we can get a conference title and I can get these seniors some wins before they leave high school, that’s my goal. Fierceness, intensity, that’s what it’s going to be about."

After finishing 2-7 a year ago, the Bulldogs are eyeing their first winning season since 2011 and third since 2006.

With an enrollment of more than 200 students, Rudyard is ineligible for the MHSAA postseason due to its Class C classification.

With a roster of 18, including nine seniors, the Bulldogs return several skill position players and all but two linemen.

Rudyard opens its season at home with Cedarville on Aug. 25.

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