The first time a Rim Country Middle School eighth-grade football team donned spanking new uniforms was 1997 when players included Waylon Pettet, Taylor Walden, Jake Swartwood and Bryce River.
The uniforms were purchased with a $2,500 donation from the Mogollon Sporting Association and replaced ragtag, hand-me-downs the Mavericks had worn since the school first fielded a football team three years earlier.
The current edition of Maverick eighth-grade football players had the rare opportunity to take to the gridiron sporting fresh new uniforms Sept. 15 on Longhorn field against the St. Johns Redskins.
The seventh-grade team debuted with new uniforms in St. Johns.
This time, the uniforms were purchased with more than $7,000 earned at a series of fund-raisers and donations from well-wishers.
While preparing for the game at a practice a day prior, the excited team members and coach Jimmy Oestmann expressed thanks to those who donated and helped in the fund-raisers.
"It's great to have new uniforms," eighth-grader Ben Sandoval said. "We appreciate them."
"We are grateful to a lot of people for (the uniforms)," Oestmann said. "They stepped up to help us."
Among those the coach and player expressed their gratitude were:
- Sally Randall
- Pat Stone
- Dale Oestmann
- Dr. and Sue Munoz
- Mike and Lisa Young
- The Door Stop
- Payson Eye Care
- Dr. and Kristy Ford
- Payson FAN Club
- Karen Schrank
The coach and players also thanked all those who made pledges in the Hour of Power benefit last spring and purchased tickets to the hot dog and hamburger cookout in August.
About the game
Although the Mavs were outfitted in new uniforms, the team wasn't able to pull off a win against the Redskins.
RCMS lost 28-22 to fall to 0-2-1 on the season.
The team returns to action Sept. 21 in Winslow. Kickoff is 3:30 p.m.
The seventh-grade football team will host Winslow at 3:30 p.m., Sept. 21 on PHS field.