ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) Bill Shepard may not have been anticipating to forfeit all of his team's games in his first year at Christian Life, but that is life.
Low numbers forced his hand and he had to adjust, and going into year two, he knows what to expect.
"It's a fast-paced game, everybody has to be at their best most plays, and you can't hide anybody because it's studs against studs when you go 8-man," said Shepard.
The Eagles figured out fairly early last year that they would be transitioning to the eight-man game and despite the forfeits, their Northeastern Athletic Conference opponents agreed to play condensed games with them.
This season, C-Life joins four other schools in Illinois, including Alden-Hebron, to switch over to eight-versus-eight, and will also square off with three other teams from Wisconsin.
Eagles players do not see 2016 as a lost season.
"We were playing for a bigger purpose because we're pioneering into a 8-man football team in the state of Illinois," said senior running back Max Kozlovsky. "I think it's worth it. I would have rather played and had the experience with it going into my senior season than just not playing at all because I still want to play football."
"I plan on just playing the same football game as I've always played," said senior running back Tanner Nunez. "There's no difference in playing 8-man or 11-man. It's still football."