A couple of key injuries might have prevented the Rim Country Middle School eighth-grade football team from winning the White Mountain League championship.
At least, that’s the opinion of Maverick coach Gary Chitwood, who points to the loss of Mike Magliano and Jesus Robles as “big blows” to team aspirations.
Magliano, a two-way tackle, was sidelined with a broken ankle he suffered during a practice.
“That was a huge loss,” Chitwood said.
Robles went down in midseason with a broken thumb.
Even without the two stalwarts in the lineup, the Mavs rolled up a 5-2 record whipping Blue Ridge, Heber Mogollon, Holbrook, Snowflake and Cottonwood.
“Our final game was against 4A Cottonwood and it was 20-0 Payson,” Chitwood said.
The two losses were 12-8 to Show Low and 8-6 to Round Valley.
“Both were very close games,” Chitwood said.
Quarterback Matt Davis, running backs Trevor Anderson and Layne Chitwood, as well as receivers Dean Harpe and Chaz Klabbatz led the Maverick offense.
The “D” is also drawing praise from the coach.
“The defense proved to be as tough as anyone in the league,” Chitwood said. “Dalvin Proctor at linebacker and Danny Quinonez had great seasons.”
The coach also singled out Austin Moss as most improved player.”
The Maverick players will now turn their attention away from the gridiron and focus on the junior high/middle school wrestling season, which tips off after fall break.