Indians face huge challenge at No. 1 Limon
The goals remain the same, but the path to achieving them has been altered.
Yuma High School’s football team has its work cut out for it over the last four weeks of the regular season.
The Indians sit at 2-3 overall, 0-1 in the Class 1A North Central Conference, after a heart-breaking 7-6 loss to eighth-ranked Holyoke, last Friday night in Yuma’s Homecoming game.
Now comes the challenge of traveling to Limon for a Saturday afternoon battle with the top-ranked and undefeated Badgers.
“If we keep holding teams to seven points, we have a chance,” coach Kelly Seward said, “but offensively we have to keep them off-balance. With the teams we have coming up, we’re going to have to open up the playbook more now. We’re going to have to trip them up somehow.”
Limon is No. 1 in the Top 10 (CHSAANow.com polls) and the 1A Rating Percentage Index, with a 5-0 record, 1-0 in the NCC, after opening conference play last Thursday with a 41-6 win at Wiggins. The Badgers’ have wins against then-No. 1 and defending 1A champion Strasburg, No. 6 Crowley County and No. 7 Meeker on their resumé.
They have a commanding lead in the RPI, which will determine seeding for the playoffs next month, with an opponents’ winning percentage of 0.666.
Longtime coach Mike O’Dwyer once again has the Badgers featuring a bruising rushing attack complemented by a by an occassional-but-effective passing game. Limon has 1,128 rushing yards in five games, with five players with more than 100, led by sophomore Kory Tacha’s 311 yards and seven touchdowns. Senior quarterback Cannan Bennett has completed 21 of 49 passes for 357 yards and six touchdowns to only one interception. Tacha is the leading receiver with 123 yards and three touchdown receptions.
“They run out of the doublewing and I-formation. They want to run, but they’ll throw it too,” Seward said. “We just have to come ready and be prepared to battle.”
The defense is allowing 8 points per game.
Holyoke also is 5-0, 1-0, after getting out of Yuma with a one-point win last Friday. The Dragons are No. 8 in the RPI and No. 9 the Top 10. Burlington is 4-1, 1-0, beating Wray 19-8 last Friday. The Cougars’ only loss is to Strasburg, and they are No. 9 in the RPI and No. 5 in the Top 10. Wray is 3-2, 0-1, but still is No 8 in the Top 10 and No. 14 in the RPI.
Yuma still is in playoff contention at No. 15 in the RPI, but have to win at least three of their last four, Limon, Wiggins, Burlington and Wray.
Yuma has a strong RPI because its’ opponents winning percentage is 0.665 — fourth highest in all of 1A — and it’s not likely to get lower during October.
Besides Yuma traveling to Limon on Saturday, Burlington travels to Holyoke on Friday, and Wray hosts Wiggins on Friday.