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Seabury Football:
A Team of Their Own

Updated 12:02 PM HST, September 2, 2011
Posted 10:05 PM HST, August 23, 2011

By Chris Sugidono

Seabury Hall fields their first football team in school history. Photo by Chris Sugidono.

With the school year upon us, the hype is already growing around high schools such as Baldwin and Lahainaluna as they get ready for yet another football season. Seabury Hall, however, will be getting ready for a different brand of football.

For the first time in school history, Seabury will field their own football team and compete against Molokai and St. Anthony in a full-contact 8-man football league. This follows the success of last year’s 5-on-5 passing league, as well as St. Anthony and Molokai’s full-contact exhibition game.

The proposal came from longtime Athletic Director Steve Colflesh and Headmaster Joseph Schmidt after St. Anthony announced they would no longer play 11-man football, but instead participate in 8-man.

“We felt like we needed something to do in the fall for the boys,” says Colflesh. “The [MIL] moved volleyball to the spring, so cross-country was the only sport.”

The biggest difference between 11-man and 8-man football is the subtraction of two offensive linemen and a wide receiver on offense, and two defensive backs and a defensive lineman on defense. The field size is smaller with leagues normally playing on 80-yard-long by 40-yard-wide fields. The game is also shortened to 12-minute quarters from 15. (Correction: All high school football leagues play with 12-minute quarters)

(See Complete Rules of 8-man Football)

The fact that teams can play with only a dozen players makes the sport more accessible to smaller schools like Seabury. With that in mind and assisted by dedicated boosters, Schmidt and Colflesh proceeded to create a long-term plan for the football program. If the interest level in their first year was high enough, they’d buy uniforms and equipment in the second year. Now that 18 solid players have joined their ranks, Seabury has been outfitted with brand new equipment and a brand new sport.

Seabury Hall Football,Andrew Burger

Coach Burger brings experience from his playing days at Bethel College. Photo by Chris Sugidono.

Seabury Hall Football

Seabury football players getting ready for their first game against St. Anthony. Photo by Chris Sugidono.

Seabury Hall Football,Andrew Burger

The majority of Seabury's players have not played football and will prove to be a test for Burger and his staff. Photo by Chris Sugidono.

In previous years, Seabury has played alongside St. Anthony and Kaahumanu Hou to form the Pac-3 Titans. St. Anthony had been battling low enrollment and a lack of students interested in football, so they reached out to the two schools. Although Seabury and Kaahumanu Hou sent upwards of 15 players in the first two years, the number of players who stuck with the team steadily dropped.

By their last year, only one player from the two schools remained on the team.

Whether or not 8-man football survives, Seabury is committed to keeping football at the school. Seabury football coach Andrew Burger sees promise in the schools program saying, “The biggest thing for Seabury to keep football is to get boys interested in the sport. Last year, when we started the passing league, we had a very athletic group of eighth grade boys coming in, and we knew these guys wanted to play football. We also had a pretty athletic freshman class at the time.”

Because Seabury has no seniors and only one junior, Burger feels that the team will only add players in the future. “We have enough gear for 36 guys and I eventually see the program growing to where there might be even a need to move up.”

But the biggest problem standing in their way might not have to do with interest. “Our freshman class has around 50 girls and 25 boys,” says Burger. “So it’s been a little difficult getting more players.”

Recruiting will pose as a difficult challenge for the small school. Luckily for Burger, school has started and plenty of fresh faces are milling around campus. He excuses himself from his office.

“I’ve got to track down some freshman and introduce myself.”

Seabury Hall opens their season at St. Anthony on September 3rd in a controlled scrimmage.

See complete schedule (subject to change)






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  • maui mom

    excuse me seabury but why dont you recruit females to play football? st anthony had two girls on their jv team in 1997 and one girl on the team in 1998 and 1999……..girls can play football too!

    • Chris Sugidono

      Thank you for your comment maui mom! I should clarify that Coach Burger did have a couple girls on the team last year during the 5-on-5 passing league.

  • 1 year late

    Kamehameha Maui had a starting girl offensive lineman on the varsity in 2009, playing the 11-man game. And FYI, the eight-man league started last year with St. Anthony, Molokai and Seabury Hall — they only played a couple of jamboree days, but the league was going in the 8-man format.

    • Chris Sugidono

      Thank you for your comment and I’ve made a slight change, acknowledging the exhibition game between St. Anthony and Molokai. I apologize for my story sounding like 8-man football had just started on the island and/or started by Seabury Hall. I want to clarify though that St. Anthony Athletic Director Al Paschoal and former football coach Charlie Pico came up with the idea to start 8-man football. However, Steve Colflesh and Joseph Schmidt approached Mr. Paschoal after St. Anthony had announced they would participate in 8-man football. Look forward to more articles about 8-man football!

  • 8-man fan

    Seabury Hall participated in the exhibition games last season, so this is their second 8-man team, as it is for St. Anthony and Molokai. And, FYI, all high school football games are 12-minute quarters — including the 11-man game.

    • Chris Sugidono

      Thank you for your comment and correction on 12-minute quarters. However, Seabury did not participate in any exhibition games last year. They only participated in the previously mentioned passing league. Unlike St. Anthony and Molokai, they did not practice in football pads or play anyone in an 8-man exhibition game. I apologize for the confusion, but check back for updates on 8-man football here at Maui Now.

  • Molokai mom

    I know I read in the newspaper last year that Seabury Hall was part of the first year of 8-man football, along with St. Anthony and Molokai. Seems like you might be splitting hairs here. This season is exhibition (club-level) games just like last year’s jamborees and/or exhibition games for all 3 teams — the paper said they are aiming for being a sanctioned MIL sport in 2012. I know I saw Seabury Hall play in those jamborees. Maybe you should check the paper’s site to get more up on the facts.

    • Chris Sugidono

      Thank you for your comment Molokai mom. The only 8-man game that was played last year was in Molokai against St. Anthony. The plan for 8-man football and it’s future has been covered by the Maui News, especially on St. Anthony and Molokai who have been committed to bringing 8-man football to the islands. This story is about Seabury Hall, who will be participating in their first football season complete with full pads and a complete (yet tentative) schedule. I did not mean to belittle last year’s jamboree and exhibition game. Thank you for all of the comments and check back for updates on 8-man football here at Maui Now.

  • Molokaian

    Ho Chris, mahalo for the info. "This story is about Seabury Hall" — really? Us folks on Molokai couldn’t figure that out without some clarification, I guess. Molokai Mom tells you she saw Seabury Hall play last season, at the same places she saw St. Anthony and Molokai play, and you still say this is Seabury’s first season! Is it St. anthony and Molokai’s first season to then? That is something this Molokaian can’t figure out, but maybe you can help us poor folks out on the Friendly Isle with some more help, I guess we need it, yeah (at least according to you).

    • Chris Sugidono

      Thank you for your comment Molokaian and I’m sincerely sorry for my comment to Molokai mom. I didn’t realize how rude I sounded and did not want to insult anyone’s intelligence. The only thing I wanted to accomplish with these stories on 8-man football was to bring publicity to the sport and the three schools. I was also looking to acknowledge, yet differentiate last year’s games to this years. I have talked to Coach Burger and Colflesh about what they participated in last year and they told me that they only played in the passing league. My mistake was calling this year their first season, just because they would be suiting up in full pads. As a Seabury alumni and football player for St. Anthony, the last thing I wanted to do was offend anyone, especially Molokai who has been instrumental in making 8-man football a reality. I apologize for my mistake and I hope I may come to Molokai and cover the progress that the team has made for this year’s season.