For the past three years Throckmorton have conducted their first padded practice at midnight. This has turned into a community event with a BBQ, a pre-practice ceremony and fireworks. Around 100 locals were in the stands at midnight, Friday morning to see the 2012 Greyhounds padded up for the first time. 26 players were dressed out, very impressive for a school with only 58 students.
This was my first ever experience with the 6-man game and I realized right away that my 11-man knowledge meant very little. Some rules are somewhat similar; 15 yards for a 1st down instead of 10. 3 must be on the line of scrimmage instead of 7.
The big differences; all six are eligible receivers and an exchange must be made before the ball may be run (QB cannot run ball) make all the difference in the world. Unlike 11-man, 6ers must all know all fundamental football skills. Every defender has to be able to cover downfield as well as tackle and all offensive players have to be able to catch. Even passing is less specialized than in 11-man as all three backs are regularly called on to throw the ball.
From a coaching standpoint this means individual periods include all the same skills. Where a 11-man O line coach would never teach his center to catch passes, a six man coach must. The 6-man player must be well rounded, like a basketball player must be able to shoot, dribble, pass and play defense, all 6ers must block, tackle, catch, run routes, defend downfield and take on blockers.
The collisions are much more wide open. Every play looks like a special teams play in 11-man ball. With so much field and so few players most everything is done out in the open.
I’ll admit I’m at a little bit of a loss to critique the play, having never seen this game, but Throckmorton looked well coached and prepared to me. They have a good amount of kids I would think would be the optimum size to play this game; big enough to make an impact but small enough to be mobile. The kids were very willing to be coached and the coaches were obviously very knowledgeable about the game. Coach Reed set a good balance of being tough while also being positive and the players responded well.
Everybody was very friendly and it’s apparent that the people of Throckmorton take great pride in their team, their school and their town. I’ll be back in early September for the week of the homecoming game against Bryson.