The Middle School Maverick seventh grade football team continued its undefeated winning streak against Show Low last week and now has its sights set on the toughest match of the year as they prepare to play Round Valley Wednesday.
Last Thursday, the Mavs took the show on the road to Show Low for what they had hoped might actually be an opponent worthy of the body-bruising challenge which Payson has been handing out all over the state. Such was not the case.
"Every game we've played this year, our starting defense has gone unscored against," assistant coach Dave Blalock said. "To be more fair to other teams and to not just run the score up we've done some substitutions, which bring in our second string defense."
Even then, the Mavs prove to be more than their challengers can handle.
Despite allowing two Show Low touchdowns, the Mavs hung on to embarrass Show Low with a final score of 64-14, which advances Payson to a 5-0 season.
If you were to look for a Show Low weakness, Blalock said it would have to be their defense.
"We were able to run and pass pretty easily," the coach said. "In the second half, they were a little tough to start, but our guys just turned it up and we put them away."
Quarterback Josh Blalock had yet another stellar performance, including five TDs, one of which was while playing on special teams where he returned a punt 60 yards into the end zone.
Blalock also found Derrick Hoosava in the end zone, who caught the pass for another six points.
Shelton Keith also had a great game, carrying the ball into the end zone twice including one kick return which he ran back 70 yards for the score.
"Our entire offensive line did a great job and really blew Show Low off the ball making it easy for us to run and pass," Blalock said. "And when it came to running, Cash Armstrong really ran the ball hard."
That offensive front line is what Blalock said is at the heart of the team's success this year.
"We have a big line, with Donald Engler being kind of the backbone of that line," he said. "Engler, along with Shane Brown, Kevin Allen, Tristin Wilson, Lance Chabot and Dustin Strophman have all been doing an outstanding job, not only in this game but all season long."
To find a challenge which provides a real test for Payson is a quest which the seventh-graders have been on all season.
That challenge may finally come this Wednesday here in Payson as the Mavs go toe to toe with Round Valley in their final game of the season.
"I'd like to see a more evenly matched football game, but even if they are good, I still expect our players to do very well no matter who shows up," Blalock said.
Game time is 3:30 p.m. at the Payson High School football field. Players and coaches hope to attract a large crowd of fans to cheer the Mavs on in their final game of the year.