Although AFI normally covers 11 and 12 man football, there is an eight man outdoor league thriving in northern Mexico. The six-team Super 8 League has been playing since 2010 and this Saturday the defending and three-time champion Duo Sports Thundercats will face the Bufalos Mexicali in Super 8 Bowl IV.
The matchup pits the league’s top offense in the Thundercats against the Bufalos defense, also number one in the league. The Thundercats racked up 226 points in six games while Mexicali gave up a mere 68 points.
The two teams met in the season opener with Duo Sports prevailing in a thriller 32-31. In fact the rivalry stretches back to last summer season where the two teams split the regular season home and away series and saw the Thundercats defeat the Bufalos in the semi final to move on to Super 8 Bowl III where the Thundercats defeated the Diablos Ensenada for their 2nd consecutive Super 8 Championship.
This is the Bufalos first trip to the championship final.
The Thundercats are led by quarterback Justin Mckenzie who accounted for 30 touchdowns in 2015 (22 passing, 8 rushing). His favorite target is wide receiver Phillip Williams who is a difference maker, especially in championship games. He has caught a record seven touchdown passes in finals, including three in last year’s Thundercats victory the last one on the final play of the game to seal the win.
Defensively, Duo Sports relies on linebacker Arturo Rosales who also doubles as a running back when needed. Safety Richard Osuna makes life difficult for opposing quarterbacks.
Bufalos quarterback Aquilis Pulido leads the second best offense in the league after converting from tight end. With his size and speed, he makes life difficult for opposing defenses. Receiver Paul Haro is easily the most versatile player for Mexicali as he returns kicks, plays wide receiver, safety, and running back as well when needed.
The Bufalo’s defense relies on defensive end Armando Aguirre who is one of the top pass rushers in the league.
Eight man football is not unusual in many places throughout the world such as Israel, Ireland, Norway and Corsica. It is played widely in the United States, particularly among smaller high schools.