By RON PRESTON
BELOIT - Did you know that there are more schools playing 8-man football in the state of Kansas than any other single 11-man classification?
There are 104 schools that currently play 8-man football and the Kansas State High School Activities Association has even broken that down into two divisions of 52 schools each based on enrollment.
Solomon High School is a Class 2A school that plays 8-man football in Division 1 and this past year they finished with a 10-2 record falling in the state playoffs to the eventual Division 1 State Champion Ness City in the semi finals.
The Gorillas captured the Wheat State League title at 4-0 and they were 4-1 in their district.
Two of the graduating seniors have been selected to play in the Kansas Eight-Man Football Coaches Association all-star game to be played at 1 pm Saturday, June 8, in Beloit.
Blayne Nielson, at 6-2, 230 pounds, is listed on the Division 1 Westís roster as a defensive end and offensive guard.
Josh Burdine, a 6-6, 180 pound end and defensive safety is also on the West teamís roster.
ďWe were selected based on our senior season that we had,Ē Neilson said.
ďI really prefer playing defense versus offense, although I may play both in the All-Star Game,Ē he said.
Nielson lettered all four years at Solomon. He made the Wheat State League Honorable Mention team in 2011 and was first team all league in 2012.
He also was named to the All District 5 first team defensive and offensive lineman squads this past season.
Neilson lettered in track and enjoys hunting and fishing. He is the son of John and Laurie Neilson of Solomon. He is undecided on his future plans at this time.
Burdine was named All State in football in both his junior and senior years at Solomon.
This past year Josh was also All-State in basketball as well as competing on the third place Class 2A State Track Team with three individual gold medals and a silver in his fourth event. He is the son of Harold and Debby Murphy of Solomon.
He plans to attend Barton County Junior College to play basketball in the fall.
The initial start of the Kansas Eight-Man Football Association began in January 1986. A group of 16 North-Central Kansas 8-man coaches attended a meeting hosted by Mankato High School to discuss the possibilities of an 8-man football All-Star game.
The concern for this was in response to the almost non-existent participation of 8-man players in the Shrine Bowl according to KEMFA.
The KEMFA has worked closely with organizations in the city of Beloit in a successful effort to promote a yearly Eight-Man All-Star Game. This annual game is just one of the organizationís goals for promoting 8-man football, and recognizing the efforts of those who play and coach the game in the State of Kansas.
Last year the West team defeated the East squad 36-0 in the Division 1 game in Beloit.