The Payson Mavericks eighth-grade football team was unstoppable, immovable and unrelenting in its pursuit of the perfect season a season the team just completed, never allowing even one opponent to score against them.
To add insult to the injuries they so often handed to their foes, the Mavericks never even punted the ball ... the entire season.
The Mavs did battle in the dome in Round Valley last week and with the 42-0 victory, brought their season standings to 6-0. In fact, they now boast a 306-0 score against the entire White Mountain Football League.
"It was by far our toughest game of the year," assistant coach Corey Kroll said. Kroll said the majority of the scoring occurred in the first half of play.
"It was a really hard hitting football game," he said. "They actually drove down to our 20 yard line 3 times but never got it in the end zone."
Despite the one-sided score, both teams handed out their fair share of bumps and bruises. Even fans in the bleachers commented on this being one of the best, hardest-hitting games they've seen, including high school games.
Payson's Mike Waterman was forced to leave late in the game with what appears to be a torn ligament in his knee.
Payson's domination of the game started quickly with tailback Andy Sargent running the ball 50 yards into the end zone. Aside from their usual barrage of offensive touchdowns, quarterback Pete Hargis also played on defense where he ran back an interception 60 yards for a TD.
Payson kept its attack confined to the ground throughout much of the game.
"I think we only threw the ball three or four times in the game and in the second half when you're up that much you just shouldn't throw the ball," Kroll said. "The other coaches weren't real happy with us but we did play just about everybody."
Even with their second string in the game, Payson never showed signs of letting up on the attack.
"When Waterman went out with an injury in the fourth quarter, the team got pretty fired up and wanted to score another touchdown for Mike, which they did. They almost scored again but the clock ran out with Payson on Round Valley's one-foot line," he said.
Kroll said Round Valley's weakness was in "not taking care of the ball," which resulted in a number of fumbles.
"They would probably have scored three touchdowns if they hadn't fumbled the ball," he said. "They had a real big offensive line. If they had just stayed patient and not fumbled so much, it would have been a lot more interesting."
On the Payson end of the field, the Mavericks held onto the ball with intensity.
"Our offensive line played pretty solid all year actually," Kroll said. When asked about what he thought Payson's weakness might be, Kroll said, "I don't think we have one.
"They really make my job easy because they're really willing to get out there and learn. We have about 12 players who haven't even missed a single practice."
Head coach Scott Crabdree agreed.
"These kids are determined to go out there and do whatever needs to be done," he said. "I'm really proud of them."
Seventh-graders 'smoked 'em'
The seventh-grade team also finished the season undefeated, pummeling Round Valley 48-0. Coach Ned Schall summed up the game in two very short sentences: "They were sad. We smoked 'em," he said. "I'm just really proud of these guys for hanging in there even though many of our opponents were pretty darn predictable."
Round Valley started the game off with its defense focused on thwarting the aerial attack, so Payson ran the ball. Later RV decided to put all 11 players on the front line to stop the run so Payson threw the ball.
More than one fan in the crowd was heard to say, "duh!"
It becomes obvious very rapidly that if you are a coach, you don't want to go up against the Mavericks.
With these teams moving into the Payson High School ranks soon, the increased experience and training means it's only going to get better.