The Donahue Academy Shamrocks take the field for their first six-man football game Friday afternoon at North Park in Ave Maria. Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m. and gates open at 3:30 p.m. Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for students and $10 per family.
Here's a story published by AveHerald.com on September 9, 2009:
A school football team playing in Ave Maria has been a dream that university founder Tom Monaghan has spoken of for many years. That day is coming soon, but the team won't be from Ave Maria University but rather from the Donahue Academy, which will be fielding varsity and junior varsity squads in a form of tackle football that has six players on each side of the line.
"It's great for the school," says Donahue senior Thaddeus Guerrero. He, like almost all the other 40 guys who are playing this year, had never played competitive football before. "But we have really good coaches, and we're learning," he said.
The Donahue Academy will be competing in the Florida Six-man Football Association, an organization of Christian schools that want to play full-contact football but aren't large enough to field teams with the normal eleven players on each side.
According to the association's website, six-man football has been around since the 1930s, although the Florida association got started three years ago.
Donahue Academy started the program quickly this summer. Town resident Dennis Longley said he was organizing a Pop Warner football team in the town, when Donahue Academy headmaster Dan Guernsey approached him and asked, "Do you know anything about six-man football?" Although he'd never heard of it before, he had a plan ready in two weeks for the Donahue Shamrocks to compete at both the varsity (grades 9 to 12) and junior varsity (middle school) levels.
The team's first home game is 4:30 p.m. Friday at North Park against Island Christian Academy from Islamorada.
Anyone coming out to the game will see a somewhat different brand of football than is played by most schools and professional teams. Six-man football has no linemen, and everyone is an eligible receiver, making for a freewheeling, fast-paced game.
The teams have been working hard to get ready, and once a week AMU Men's Basketball Coach Jamon Copeland puts the players through special strength and conditioning drills. "He really challenges us," says sophomore Chris Williams.
"It's astonishing how they're taking to it," Longley said. "They've gone beyond our expectations." In addition to himself, the teams are coached by Don Stuller, Jim Carlotta, Matt DiCarlo and Mark Wallace.
The teams will be raising money to help pay for equipment and travel and anyone who is interested in helping out should get in touch with Coach Longley at 239-825-3111 or email@example.com