Genoa Central considers 8-a-side football

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GENOA, Ark. –Genoa Central High School plans to quit Arkansas Activities Association Class 4A football and switch to 8-a-side football for the upcoming season, according to a Facebook post on the school’s sports page.

“With the approach of the football season, the Genoa football coaching team has explored an option for the upcoming 2022-2023 season,” the Facebook post read. “As we all know we have been moved to 4A due to our growing numbers in high school. That being said, we have been looking into the possibility of moving to 8-a-side football. As staff we believe this would be a good option to consider for our future students/athletes.”

The Dragons, who have been a Class 3A team since the start of football in 2010, have compiled an overall record of 30-88-1 in 12 seasons. Genoa Central qualified for the playoffs for the first time in 2019 after a season-record five wins.

Over the past three years, the Dragons have averaged four wins a year on the gridiron.

With growing student enrollment and the biennial AAA realignment, held in December, the school moves to Class 4A in the fall. Genoa Central is expected to play in the 7-4A Conference, along with Ashdown, Arkadelphia, Nashville, Malvern, Mena, Fountain Lake and Waldron, unless the switch to 8-a-side football materializes.

The Dragons Athletics page post went over the pros and cons of dropping 11-a-side football and moving to an 8-a-side.

“The benefits are: increased success for our program, increased player participation, building a winning tradition, a positive attitude and increased support within the Genoa community,” the post reads. “Cons include; we will not be sanctioned by the AAA (Arkansas Athletic Association) so we would be considered a club sport, there is no playoff or state championship, and travel will be extended with our away matches.

“Having said that, we see this as an opportunity to set our agenda for the future in all of its facets, high school and college.”

As of 2021, 21 schools in Arkansas played 8-a-side football. Sixteen of those programs played 8-a-side 2As and five played 8-a-side 3As. 3A programs included Little Rock Episcopal, Subiaco Academy, Marshall, Little Rock Hall, and Rose Bud. Among the 2A teams were Spring Hill, Cutter Morning Star, Woodlawn and Mountain Pine.

Genoa school officials could not be reached on Friday afternoon.

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