Controversial Rule Bans 11-Year-Old From Scoring TDs

Demias Jimerson, an 11-year-old running back for Wilson Intermediate School in Malvern, Ark., "scores almost every time he touches the ball," according to Terri Bryant, the school's principal. In fact, in one game, the sixth-grader scored seven touchdowns for his undefeated team.

That's why the Wilson Intermediate Football League has invoked the Madre Hill Rule - named after the former Arkansas Razorbacks and Oakland Raiders running back. Once Hill, who also attended Wilson Intermediate School, scored three touchdowns, and if his team had at least a 14-point lead, officials banned him from scoring any more touchdowns.

"If you were looking at them, you would say they were very ... similar," Darryl Baker, who coached Hill and now referees Jimerson's games, told Fox16 in Little Rock. "They both run really fast [and] run with the same style."

Bryant, who also is commissioner of the Wilson Intermediate Football League, told reporter Josh Rosenthal that the rule isn't meant to punish Jimerson. Rather, it's there to help the other fifth- and sixth-graders on the field develop as football players, too.

But Tina Korbe, in a post on the news and commentary website, claims Bryant made the wrong move. "Doesn't the principal see? Running with Jimerson does develop the other players," Korbe wrote. "Maybe they're not immediately able to discern the ways they've improved. But, for every time a kid comes only oh-so-close to tackling Jimerson, he's going to tackle some other less-speedy quarterback with greater ease. In other words, Bryant and the parents of the other children are missing a prime opportunity to encourage their kids to keep pushing and to teach them all that they can do is their best but that, eventually, their best will pay off - if not on the football field, then in the increased disciplined and irrepressible optimism they cultivated while competing with Jimerson."

As for Jimerson, he doesn't seem to mind having to follow the Madre Hill Rule. "I … got shocked, because I didn't know that was gonna happen, but it did," he said. "I'm okay with it."

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