Keystone State Football League Adding Three New Members
The Keystone State Football League, an eight-player football league established in 2019 by charter members Delaware County Christian School, Mercersburg Academy, Perkiomen School, and Valley Forge Military Academy, is excited to announce the addition of three members for the fall 2022 season. New members beginning play this fall include the Maryland School for the Deaf (Frederick, MD), the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (Washington, DC), and Randolph-Macon Academy (Front Royal, VA).
What was previously a Pennsylvania-centric league will expand to include the Washington/Baltimore metro area and Northern Virginia, giving the seven-member league an even stronger foothold in the region and positioning the KSFL as the premiere eight-player league in the Mid-Atlantic. The league also anticipates future growth, perhaps as early as the 2023 season.
Just as when Mercersburg joined the KSFL before the 2019–2020 academic year, Mercersburg’s other athletic teams will continue to compete in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League.
“We expect that this expansion will make a bit of noise in the region and serve to encourage others to make the leap to this very exciting brand of football,” says Paul Sipes, the KSFL’s lead athletic director and Mercersburg’s interim athletic director for outreach and operations. “It really is a great way for smaller schools to be able to play a full schedule of games and keep their best football players headed on the right trajectory.”
Eight-player football is full-contact, tackle football. The eight-player game removes three players from an 11-man lineup (two linemen and a backfield player on offense, with a variety of defensive options), which opens the game up for higher-scoring contests and puts a premium on athleticism and skill rather than size and brute force. Like in traditional 11-player football, there is no minimum or maximum height or weight for eligibility.
As in the 11-player game, teams compete on a 100-yard field, and the reduced number of players on the field at one time allows some players to play just offense or defense instead of both. This also has the effect of reducing the frequency of injury, given the smaller size of the average player and less time spent on the field.
Teams will play a round-robin schedule, with six regular-season games and the top four teams qualifying for the playoffs. Higher seeds will host each playoff game. Perkiomen won the inaugural championship game in 2019, with Mercersburg taking the title in 2021. (The 2020 interscholastic season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)
“Randolph-Macon Academy is delighted to join the Keystone State Football League,” says Frank Sullivan, R-MA’s director of athletics. “All of the KSFL schools are dedicated to the physical growth of the individual player and to developing personal character in all participants. Through this, we hope to develop strong student-athletes by promoting fair competition and modeling a level of sportsmanship that is exemplified by a healthy respect for opponents, officials, and others.”
Eight-player football participants frequently go on to play at all levels of college football (including NCAA Division I, II, and III institutions). Alumni of eight-player football at the high-school level include a Heisman Trophy winner (Rashaan Salaam, running back, Colorado), an Outland Trophy winner (Dean Steinkuhler, offensive lineman, Nebraska), and current NFL player Leighton Vander Esch (linebacker, Dallas Cowboys/Boise State).
The 2022 season is scheduled to kick off the weekend of September 17. For more information about the KSFL, visit ksfl8man.org.
2022 Keystone State Football League membership
Delaware County Christian School, Newtown Square, PA
Maryland School for the Deaf, Frederick, MD
Model Secondary School for the Deaf, Washington, DC
Mercersburg Academy, Mercersburg, PA
Perkiomen School, Pennsburg, PA
Randolph-Macon Academy, Front Royal, VA
Valley Forge Military Academy, Wayne, PA
For more information on this story, please contact Lee Owen (firstname.lastname@example.org) in Mercersburg’s Office of Strategic Marketing and Communications.