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H.S. player starts petition to play tackle football this fall

CVU junior Henry Kramer has started a petition asking for traditional tackle football to be played this fall in Vermont.
Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 9:21 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - It was announced on Tuesday that this fall, while there will be a high school football season, it will be some form of 7-on-7 touch football, not traditional 11-on-11 tackle football. One Vermont high school player is hoping there is still time to change people’s minds.

Henry Kramer will be a junior this fall at CVU and plays on the offensive line for the CVU football team. Upon learning of the decision Tuesday that the state plans to play 7-on-7 touch football this fall, Kramer started a petition on Change.org asking the Vermont Principals’s Association and Governor Phil Scott to reconsider, and allow traditional 11-on-11 tackle football to be played, with the players wearing masks and gloves, but playing with traditional rules. By late Thursday afternoon, over 2,000 people had signed that petition. Kramer says he’s been amazed by the support the petition has received.

"I've never been this passionate about something to really come out and say, 'this is something that's really effecting me and I really want support'. And I'm just glad that if you reach out to the community, the community responds.", says Kramer.

7-on-7 touch football is played without offensive and defensive lineman playing their traditional rolls as blockers and tacklers, it's essentially a passing game, and it puts lineman, typically much bigger than traditional running backs and receivers, at a disadvantage.

The idea of setting up specific games, or parts of games, for bigger players is something Kramer acknowledges is a ‘middle ground’, but it still doesn’t allow lineman to play their traditional roles, and Kramer feels that is something that could impact the futures of players across the state.

"I know a lot of seniors that are lineman that need to be scouted as lineman for college, because they have some colleges that are looking at them.", says Kramer. "And playing 7-on-7 as a lineman, you're not playing the game how you would play it. Sure, you're probably going to be running up against other lineman at receiver, but if you're a right tackle, you can't judge a right tackle the way you would judge a receiver.

I think it's really important that for kids that need a scholarship to go to college, they get looked out the way they should get looked at and scouted the way they should be scouted."

Football is the only sport deemed 'high contact' by the state that is played in the fall. Kramer played soccer for years before switching to football and doesn't feel there is such a difference in the physicality of the games that soccer will be allowed to be played essentially as normal, while football is moving to 7-on-7.

Kramer hopes his petition continues to gain support and whether it actually spurs a change in the plans this fall or not, that it has sent a message of how important the sport of football is to so many.

"I really felt strongly about this and said, 'what is something that I can do to rally the community', to get the community together to show how much people care about the sport in Vermont.", says Kramer. "I know so many kids at my school rely on the game. I personally really need the game in my life. School is going to be looking so different. I might not see my friends all day."

"This is where I can see my friends, talk to them. We all share the passion for the game. I think every football player in Vermont, I feel, shares the same passion for the game."

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