When Portland St. Patrick hosts Battle Creek St. Philip on Saturday in 8-man football, the Shamrocks will look to keep up a record-setting scoring pace.
While 8-man football tends to be higher-scoring that the traditional 11-man version, St. Pats has put up some big numbers in its first five games, all wins, by a total of 293 points. That’s the second-highest regular-season total in school history, with four games left to play. In 2009, St. Pats scored 78 points in nine games.
It’s also more points than any 8-man team in the state has scored this season, 36 points ahead of the next highest total by Owendale-Gagetown.
St. Patrick coach Pat Russman said that all of the credit for his team’s prolific output goes to the players.
“The kids are doing a good job with what we want to do,” he said. “They know what they’re doing, they execute our game plans, they work well together, and they’re a very coachable group from top to bottom.”
Russman said that his entire roster is getting into the act, as the team’s lopsided wins result in significant playing time for his younger reserves.
“No matter what their role is, whether they’re starting or if they’re the second one in or wherever they’re at, they’re really contributing and making us better,” he said. “It’s really been fun coaching them.”
If the Shamrocks finish the season with their current average score of 58.6 points per game, it would be the highest such average by any high-school football team in the state since 1918, but that would be for purposes of comparison only.
MHSAA Communications Director John Johnson said that records for 8-man football, now in its second year under the auspices of the MHSAA, will not be included in the state record book.
“It’s a different game,” Johnson said. “If you do that, you might as well combine boys’ and girls’ basketball records. As the game grows, and we get more data, we’ll begin establishing the same categories (in the record book) that we have for the 11-man game.”
St. Pats will be facing St. Philip for the second time this season, after opening the campaign with a 54-20 win over the Flying Tigers in the first-ever 8-man game for both schools. The rematch will likely be a somewhat sterner test for the Shamrocks.
Since its only loss in the opener, St. Philip has allowed just 48 points, keeping shutouts in its last two games, and winning by scores of 56-0 and 67-0.
The game will be played at 1 p.m. Saturday at Portland High School.