Mav Gridders On Wml Tear

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The Rim Country Middle School Maverick seventh- and eighth-grade football teams are becoming the juggernauts of the White Mountain League.

The seventh-graders, led by coaches Jimmy Oestmann and Jon Gunzel, pushed their record to 3-0 with a Sept. 14 12-0 victory over the homestanding St. Johns Redskins. The eighth-grade team, coached by Les Barr and Mark Henning, are 4-0 and have yet to be tested.

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The Rim Country Middle School eighth-grade football team beat St. Johns 48-0 Sept. 14 on Longhorn field to remain unbeaten. The RCMS players say their goal is to repeat as White Mountain League champions.

In the eighth-graders most recent victory -- a 48-0 thumping of visiting Johns Sept. 14 -- the Mavericks ran over, around and through a Redskin team that was considered one of the finer squads in the WML.

With tailback Nick Goodman running outside and fullback Ridge Halenar banging his way between the guards, the Mavericks scored at will.

On defense, linebackers Steel Armstrong, Tyler Savage and defensive end Lucas Barr put the clamps on the Skins running and passing game.

This season, the team also has beaten Cottonwood, 48-0, Blue Ridge 56-0 and Show Low 52-14.

On the seventh-grade level, the 3-0 team has beaten Show Low 32-6, Blue Ridge 26-8 and St. Johns.

A secret offensive weapon of the Mavericks most of the season has been a four-wide-receiver, one-back set that spreads and confuses young defenses. In the formation, quarterback David Weaver reads the linebacker and executes quarterback sneaks.

On one play this year, he ran 95 yards untouched for a TD.

Against St. Johns, the play went 45 yards for a score.

"He just goes right up the middle," Oestmann said.

Defensively, the seventh-graders used a 5-2 defense for the first time after playing an even front as the high school varsity team employs.

According to Oestmann, the new "D" has been successful containing sweeps.

The coach also credits noseguard Travis Harryman for his bull-like charges that often disrupt the snaps of the opposing center.

Coaches also cited running back Dutch Wallace for his standout play this season.

The Mavericks return to action Tuesday against the Holbrook Roadrunners. The seventh-graders will be in Payson for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff. The eighth-graders travel to Holbrook.

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