Welcome to the GAA 8th Grade Football Page

What separates 8th Grade football from the other age groups?

  • Faster and more intense – harder hitting
  • Closer aligned with the high school program-no guarantees on playing time and position
  • Players are put in positions based on skills and where needed for team success
  • 7 on 7 tournament for skill players in the pre-season
  • More time commitment (practices are 2 hours, 3 nights a week and Tuesday games)
  • The diversity on the body types from 80 to 250+ pounds
  • Ages can range from 13 to 15.60
  • Minimum play rule = 1 play D1 and 2 plays D2
  • You have higher expectations on us – we have increased expectations of players
  • No practice rainouts

 What about Division 1 and Division 2 - what’s the deal?

The main differentiator is skill level and physicality. Kids hit their growth spurts at different times. If a player has other players in front of him in his position that are bigger, stronger, faster and more football intellectually developed than he, then he will be placed on the Division 2 team where he will get more reps, and consequently, a greater chance to develop and progress when he reaches high school. This is not a predictor of future performance or success. The D1/2 concept is a GFL rule designed to keep kids excited and interested in football into high school where players start to physically and mentally level out. Ask yourself, if you were a player, would you rather play or watch? D2 affords players who might otherwise have limited game day experiences to have a chance to play more! The process will prepare and develop better players for future years if they continue playing football in high school.

 Who coaches the 8th Grade?

 The 8th grade coaching staff is selected by one head coach that runs both the D1 and D2 teams.  Because of the higher level of coaching needed to compete at this age group there are numerous volunteer coaches with years of experience and no children that play on the team.  Some coaches are added every year from the 7th grade on an as needed basis.  These coaches attend clinics and mentoring sessions from the high school coaching staff as they will run the same offense and defense to assure players are being developed to compete in high school.

Head Coach Matt Prior's Bio

Matt played football in high school at Heritage High School in Conyers, Georgia. He was the 1996 High School Region Defensive Player of the Year.  From 1997-2000 he played football at Middle Tennessee State University. After playing football at Middle Tennessee State, Matt helped coach at his alma mater in 2001. 

Matt has coached for GAA for the past 9 years in Football, Baseball, Wresting and Softball. In the last 6 seasons as Defensive Coordinator, he has had 38 wins. Matt has started his 8th grade coaching career off with a co-championship in the GFL 7 on 7   D1 tournament.