DANVILLE — Schlarman is the latest local school to join the 8-Man Football Association, with Hilltoppers athletic director Phil Sexton announcing the move Thursday morning.
Schlarman has spent the last five seasons in an 11-man cooperative after possessing its own program from 1946 through 2013. The Hilltoppers joined forces with Hoopeston Area prior to the 2014 campaign, and Armstrong-Potomac turned the group into a trio in 2016.
Sexton said in a press release that the 8-man game "will give our kids a chance to play in a competitive situation, and it affords us the opportunity to develop our younger players in a safe environment."
Six Schlarman student-athletes were on HASAAP’s 2018 varsity roster, which recorded a 2-7 record. Any Hilltoppers who opt to suit up in 2019 will try to bring Schlarman its first non-cooperative football victory since 2011.
They’ll also follow in the footsteps of the 1980 and 1981 Hilltoppers outfits that won IHSA Class 2A state championships under coach Greg Colby.
Sexton said no coach is in place at this time for this revived Schlarman squad, which joins Judah Christian and Milford/Cissna Park among area representatives in the 8-Man Football Association.
Fourteen programs from around the state are committed to the league for the 2019 season, according to the association’s website.
Hoopeston Area AD Matt Colston told The News-Gazette on Friday that his school and Armstrong-Potomac intend to stay in an 11-man co-op for the 2019 season, though its head coaching position is listed as open on EDGYTIM.com.