Rim Country Middle School has a long and proud history of turning out exceptional eighth-grade football teams.
The Mavericks' first-ever team --ed by the likes of Cable Morris and Hunter Walden --urprised almost everyone by finishing undefeated, and winning the White Mountain League championship in 1994.
The following season, the Mavs again captured the WML crown posting an 8-0 record. That team was led by Timmy Bunting, Jimbo Armstrong and Kyle Conway.
In 1997, Waylon Pettet and Taylor Walden helped the unbeaten Mavs win their third WML title in four seasons.
With the conclusion of the 2004 WML campaign, RCMS has another unbeaten league championship to its credit.
In posting an 8-0 record the team steamrollered over almost every opponent.
The only foes to score against the Mavs were the Show Low Cougars and the Holbrook Roadrunners. RCMS beat the Cougars 54-14, and lambasted the Roadrunners 64-8.
RCMS shut out Cottonwood, 48-0; Blue Ridge, 56-0; Bradshaw Mountain, 61-0; St. Johns, 48-0; Snowflake, 25-0; and Whiteriver, 50-0.
In the win over Whiteriver, coach Les Barr said, the Roughriders left the field in the third quarter saying they were through.
Barr, who also coached the team as seventh graders, praised the players saying "they were easy to coach because they have an abundance of talent, wanted to work together as a team and loved to play the game."
Barr predicts if the players stay together, police themselves, and maintain academic eligibility, "the sky's the limit, they can attain whatever they want to."
As seventh-graders, the team came within an eyelash of an undefeated season. The only loss the Mavs suffered was 8-0 to Snowflake after having two touchdowns negated by penalties.
Seventh-graders go 5-1
RCMS could have boasted of an unbeaten seventh-grade team had injuries and academic problems not depleted the team roster.
The young Mavs, under the coaching of Jimmy Oestmann and Jon Gunzel, were rolling along 5-0 with only an Oct. 6 clash remaining.
That game, against Whiteriver
Canyon Day, had to be forfeited because RCMS had only 10 players.
A week earlier, the seventh-graders had come from behind to beat Snowflake with only 11 players.
Failing to remain unbeaten was a disappointment for the team members, Oestmann said, but each one should be proud of their efforts during a season that tested player resolve.