Parkview Christian set to field first 8-man football team this fall – Shaw Local

Dennis Burgin has coached football at almost every level besides the professional game.

He is about to embark on a new challenge.

Burgin, an Aurora resident who played high school football at Wheaton Academy and collegiate football at Wheaton College, has been hired as a coach at Parkview Christian Academy as the Yorkville school prepares to field its first team of 8-man football this fall.

Parkview will do this in a co-operative with Families of Faith Christian Academy in Channahon. There were 24 8-a-side football programs in Illinois last season.

“We hope this will have a positive effect on our school and our community now that children have the opportunity to experience football,” Burgin said.

This will be Burgin’s second experience starting a program from scratch. He coached the school team at Crossroad Christian for four years. He also helped coach youth football for St. Raphael Youth Football in Naperville and helped out at Aurora Christian when his second son played there.

Burgin first considered the idea of ​​Parkview starting its own football program seven or eight years ago when his son started going there. At that time, Parkview was much smaller, and 11-a-side football was the only option in Illinois.

“Eight-man started five years and I kept my eyes on it that first season, I thought maybe it was something Parkview could do,” Burgin said. “Third season, we started thinking about pulling the trigger – then COVID hit and the rest is history. Last December, we thought we might try to start this thing. Things started to line up from there.

Burgin guesses he’ll be bringing in 25-30 kids for football this fall. They once had an off-season strength and conditioning program, giving the guys football experience.

“We have a lot of kids who have never played football before, but some kids who have,” Burgin said. “A kid from Families of Faith, he played three years of high school football, so he’s got three years of football under his belt. We have a kid who’s a freshman, an amazing athlete, his dad played 11 years in the NFL, he was in a 7-on-7 club that won a national championship, and then we have kids who have never put on a helmet.

Burgin himself never coached or played 8-a-side football. But he quickly acquires a background in the game through research on the Internet.

“The bottom line is that it’s a faster, higher-scoring game. It’s not uncommon for the scores to look like a low-scoring basketball game, more so than a traditional football game,” Burgin said “Having said that, the final score in last year’s state championship game was 13-6.”

The 8-a-side game is a good alternative for a small school like Parkview that wants to start a football program.

“It’s easier from a numbers point of view; you don’t have to have that many kids to practice for a thing,” Burgin said. “Although the football pitch is narrower, it is the same length, so you still have to defend and use the same areas of the pitch. Your mind needs to think differently and you need to be a little more creative.

Parkview will play in the 1-8 man North Division and are scheduled to play their first game in Alden-Hebron on August 26. The Falcons currently have a week off in Week 2, but are looking to try possibly plugging in a game with a foreign team. The rest of the season will include games with Hiawatha, Ashton-Franklin Center, Galva, Blue Ridge, Harvest Christian, Rockford Christian and South Beloit.

Parkview is finalizing plans to play its home games on a municipal field with brand new artificial turf.

“Our concept for this year was that we are team one,” Burgin said. “It is unusual for an athlete to make the very first team in any sport. Most of the teams are around 80, 90 years old. My oldest son was on the 121st team in East Aurora. It’s new, it’s interesting, and now that we’re cooperating, it means something different uniting and unifying these schools. Our slogan is one God, one team, one goal.

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