Larry Leeds

I have heard some talk this week about playing six-man football in the state.

South Dakota doesn't really need another class of football. However, if there would be some changes to the format which is in place now, and if they got rid of a class or two, it would be great if six-man football would come to South Dakota in the future.

I think six-man teams would be a great idea. I think this would bring the pride back into the smaller school districts that can't field a nine-man team without a co-op with a neighboring school.

Once in a while, a co-op will dissolve because a team doesn't want to get bumped up to an upper class, so one team might be out on its own trying to field a team again with a limited number of players. This probably will not turn out great for the players or the teams, as they could be very short on numbers and kids might not even go out.

I am not sure how many players you need to have for a six-man team, but I would guess anywhere from 12 to 15 players would be a good number. There would be enough players to practice with and have extra players in case of injury.

This is a smaller number than what teams need to have for a nine-man team, which needs close to 20 players or even a more for practice purposes and having extra in case of injury.

Just thinking about six-man football, I believe it would be a wide-open game and teams with speed would do very well.

Six-man football is a good idea if it can save the sport.


Larry Leeds was born and raised in South Dakota, graduating from Colman High School in 1974. He continued his education at USD/Springfield and Dakota State University and received a bachelor's degree in physical education and history in 1979. He later obtained a journalism degree from South Dakota State University.

Before coming to Madison, Leeds worked at weekly papers in Flandreau, St. James, Minn., Redfield and Hayti (Hamlin County Publishing with Castlewood and Estelline).

He has a passion for all sports, especially high school sports and amateur baseball, because these teams are filled with players who want to be playing the game.

His favorite teams are the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Twins and Timberwolves, and New York Yankees.

Leeds is also a NASCAR fan whose favorite drivers are Dave Blaney and his son Ryan.