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Keeping football alive in Port Edwards

Moving to eight-man football reignites the sport
Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 9:10 PM CDT
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PORT EDWARDS, Wis. (WSAW) - When Port Edwards made the adjustment to eight-man football four years ago, they didn’t know what to expect. They just wanted to play.

It’s a team that’s now a contender

“We know what to expect now,” senior quarterback Quinton Tranel said.

“Finally winning again is so much better than getting beat obviously,” said Alex Hernandez, who’s been with the program all four years of 8-man football.

‘Getting beat’ was not an uncommon thing Hernandez’s freshman year.

“We got blown out every game by the first year,” Hernandez said.

“It wasn’t fun getting blown out every game,” Tranel said.

2016 was the first year of an independent eight-man football team after years of typical 11-man football.

“I didn’t really know what to expect, just the field’s shorter,” Hernandez said about how he thought eight-man football would look like.

“I was very confused. During our first game, I didn’t even know what was happening,” Tranel, who didn’t play football until his Sophomore year, said about his first game.

Losing isn’t fun, but it beat the alternative.

“Eight-man really saved our program,” Coach Max Ayres, who joined the team three years ago, said.

“I want to keep football as long as it’s going here,” Hernandez said.

“I don’t really care, I’m just happy we can play,” added Tranel with a smile.

Without 8-man football, teams like Port Edwards would not be playing. In Ayres first year three years ago, they had just 18 players. Now, it’s 26.

“Once kids saw that winning. Got that winning feeling again. It sort of trickled down to some of those kids that didn’t play that first year," Ayres explained.

That winning continued, with a conference championship last year.

“It just was really, really good to finally win some games,” Hernandez said.

All for the love of the game.

“Football is probably my favorite sport now," Tranel added.

Copyright 2020 WSAW. All rights reserved.

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