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By Paul Lecker

Zaleski Sports

ATHENS – The move from 11-man to 8-man football is becoming more and more popular around the state as participation numbers continue to decrease for many smaller high school programs.

Athens High School has joined the list of those teams in the area transitioning to 8-man football.

Earlier this summer schools such as Wausau East, Thorp and Owen-Withee made the move as well, joining Greenwood, Port Edwards and Wausau Newman Catholic which moved on to 8-man programs in recent years.

Athens was set to compete in the Marawood Conference again, where the Bluejays finished 4-2 overall and 1-2 in conference play following an abbreviated 2020 schedule due to COVID-19-related cancellations.

The Bluejays will play a full nine-game independent schedule this fall, opening up with a contest at Owen-Withee on Aug. 27. Athens’ home opener is Sept. 3 against Flambeau. Athens will be ineligible for postseason play in the 8-man state tournament playoffs this year.

Athens 8-Man Football Schedule

Sat., Aug. 21 Scrimmage at Wausau Newman Catholic, noon

Fri., Aug. 27 at Owen-Withee, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 3 FLAMBEAU, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 10 ALMOND-BANCROFT, 7 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 17 CHEQUAMEGON, 7 p.m.

Thur., Sept. 23 at Lake Holcombe, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 1 at Sturgeon Bay, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 8 CORNELL, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 15 at Thorp, 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 22 SOUTH SHORE, 7 p.m.

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