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Six-man football? Yup, it’s a real thing

Team looks to bring home 2019 TAPPS

The Emery Jaguars look to bring home the 2019 TAPPS Division 1 Six Man State title. (KPRC)

HOUSTON – I thought I was pretty knowledgeable about the game of football. After all, I’ve been covering the sport for two decades.

On Tuesday, though, I was sent out to cover six-man football, and that’s a whole new ballgame.

Emery/Weiner School’s six-man team has advanced to the TAPPS title game on Thursday. The Jaguars also won the championship in 2015.

Before I get to the basic differences between the 11-man game and six-man, here’s a little history lesson.

Legendary coach Jack Pardee made a name for himself playing six-man football. After playing it in high school, he went on to become an All-America at Texas A&M. During the 1980s, Pardee was the head coach of the USFL’s Houston Gamblers and then at the University of Houston. He was the head coach of the Oilers from 1990 to 1994.

Now, back to six-man football.

The reason six-man football was created, back in 1934, was because some schools just didn’t have enough kids to field an 11-man team. Besides the obvious, six players on each side of the ball opposed to 11, there are several differences between the two games.

Size of the field

In six-man, the field is 80 yards long and 40 yards wide. The 11-man field is 100 yards long and 53 1/3 yards wide.

Second exchange rule

When the quarterback gets the snap, he can’t just run with it. He must pass it, pitch it or hand off the ball. Once the ball is exchanged, that player can pass it before crossing the line of scrimmage or run it.

First downs

In six-man, you have to go 15 yards for a first down. In 11-man, it’s 10 yards.

Field goals

A field goal in six-man is worth four points as opposed to the three points it gets in 11-man.

Extra points

Extra points are worth two points, as opposed to the one point in 11-man.

Mercy rule

If a team is up 45 points at the half or anytime after that, the game is called.