Usually we try to celebrate great young athletes and their prodigious potential. In Arkansas, one youth football league is instituting a dramatic rule to hold back its brightest star, all in an attempt to level the playing field for other competitors.
According to Arkansas Fox affiliate Fox 16, 11-year-old Demias Jimerson has emerged as such a dominant running back that the Wilson Intermediate Football League he plays in has reinstated a bylaw called the "Madre Hill rule," which bars him from scoring a touchdown if he has already scored three times and his team has a lead of 14 points or more.
The rule is named after former University of Arkansas star and Oakland Raider Madre Hill, who, like Jimerson, played youth football in the Malvern, Ark., area. Hill proved so adept at getting the ball into the end zone whenever he touched it that the WIFL came up with the rule to try and keep scores from getting too out of hand.
Now it has brought the same statute back for Jimerson, saying that the rule isn't meant to punish him, but rather to ensure that the other 21 players on the field stay involved.
"The other players on both teams, 21 are just left sort of, this is all Demias," WIFL commissioner Terri Bryant, who is also Jimerson's Intermediate School principal, told Fox 16. "So that's why the Madre Hill Rule has been implemented.
"[Jimerson] is going to score almost every time he touches the ball."
It turns out that Bryant's assessment of Jimerson's talent is only a slight exaggeration. In one of the two games the sixth-grader played before the Madre Hill rule was implemented, he scored an incredible seven touchdowns.
For his part, Jimerson said he's OK with the ruling, though he was surprised when it was first implemented. He also knows that when he becomes a seventh-grader in 2012 no limits will be applicable, so it will be impossible to penalize him for scoring too much.
"I got, kinda got shocked because I didn't know that was gonna happen, but it did," said Jimerson. Adding, "I'm ok with it."
Given his current production with a bizarre rule holding him back, the prospect of Demias Jimerson "unleashed" should be a terrifying prospect for any future opponents, both in the WIFL and across the state.