SHORTSVILLE, N.Y. (WROC) — It would be an understatement to say that transition to 8-man football for Logan Keifer and the Red Jacket Indians is going well.
“It’s nice to be able to run 400 yards in a game,” said the senior running back. “I mean that’s not heard of. It’s different.”
Keifer has eclipsed that mark that twice this year, maxing out at 478 yards. While Section V officials say it’s unclear whether 8-man and 11-man milestones will belong in the same record— the format is in just its third year locally, no Section V player has ever run for more yards in a game than Keifer did in Week 3 against previously undefeated Pembroke.
“Even though [the other teams] know I’m fast, it’s kind of hard to adjust to that,” said Kiefer. “Connecting the dots, it’s really just the linemen. When the linemen do their job, that’s when I shine.”
Kiefer has racked up 1,489 yards and 20 rushing touchdowns this season, nearly 375 yards per game.
“It’s hard for people to bring him down with just one person. And those people that are bringing him down are getting the worst end of the hits,” said Red Jacket football head coach Josh Henninger. “I really think that takes a big effect on the defense and wears them down. “
With just 18 players on the roster this season, the switch to 8-man was necessary for Red Jacket. It’s a move they’ve prepared for over the past few years by studying the new format and watching film of the local teams they’re now beating on a weekly basis.
“We had a good idea of what to expect and then it was a matter of finding the right guys and putting them in the right spots,” said Henninger. “It’s just football. The kids are playing hard— you still run, you still block, you still tackle.”
Red Jacket has started the season 4-0 with an average margin of victory of over 45 points a game, which Henninger attributes to their mindset.
“Embracing what you have,” said Henninger. “We didn’t have enough for 11-man so we embraced the 8-man game and when you embrace something and you’re actually passionate about it and you work hard towards it you can have success.”
Red Jacket will look to stay undefeated in route to their first sectional title since 2014.