Yuma football headed to Flatirons
No matter what else occurs in the 2019 campaign, at least the Yuma High School football team has a season-opening win to its credit.
That’s no small thing for the program, either, considering last Friday’s 44-3 shellacking of Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, was Yuma football’s first season-opening win since 2011, when the Indians beat Caliche, an 8-man team that played 11-man for one game, by a couple of scores.
“Hopefully it teaches the kids the process is working,” second-year head coach Kelly Seward said. “We have a long way to go, but that didn’t hurt.”
Now it is on to the next challenge for the Indians.
They make the trip west to the northwest suburbs to take on the former Cornerstone Christian Bulldogs. The school is now called Flatirons Academy, the mascot is now the Bison, and the school’s main color has switched from blue to orange.
The football team has been tough the past several years, and it appears that has not changed. The new Bison opened the season last week with a 48-6 romp over Prospect Ridge Academy.
Yuma outlasted the former Cornerstone Christian 12-7, on a sun-drenched Saturday afternoon in Yuma last season for the Indians’s first win. Cornerstone/Flatirons won 12-7 two years ago, the last time the two programs met on Championship Field at Broomfield Commons Park.
That is where the two will meet again Friday at 4 p.m.
Seward said it is a challenging environment as the field is in a big park, without stands or lights, with people all around doing park things such as playing frisbee.
“It’s Boulder football,” Seward cracked.
“That win (Friday) was huge but if we go up there and stub our toe, it means nothing,” the coach said. “Our league is so tough we need to get all the non-league wins we can get. If we understand what we’re going into, we’ll be fine.”
The Bison feature plenty of big bodies in the trenches, and plenty of speed at the skill positions to open things up in their pistol spread offense.
“They’re going to give us a good battle,” Seward said. “They just want to spread you out and use their athletes.”
Yuma is one of three North Central Conference teams to open 2019 with a win. Top-ranked Limon opened the season last Friday with a 36-27 win at 2A Lamar. Third-ranked Holyoke knocked off then-second ranked Colorado Springs Christian to improve to 2-0 on the year. Burlington opened its season with a 19-6 loss to second-ranked Strasburg. Wray and Wiggins, who opened with losses two weeks ago, did not play last week.
This week sees Limon hosting Crowley County, Wiggins hosting Platte Canyon on Saturday, Burlington hosting Ellicott on Saturday, Wray is at Sheridan on Thursday, and Holyoke is at Bridgeport, Nebraska, on Friday.
Yuma opened last season with a 27-0 loss at Pine Bluffs, but definitely returned the favor last Friday in the 2019 opener.
As mentioned above, it was the Indians’ first season-opening win in eight years, and likely their most impressive since beating Wray at the end of the 2014 season. (Blowout wins over hapless Lyons in recent years do not compare.)
Pine Bluffs was without its starting quarterback, former Yuman Dante Jacobsen, and two starting linemen, but nevertheless it was total domination by the Indians.
Yuma had 453 total yards, 399 rushing and 54 passing, to 119 for the Hornets, who were held to minus-5 yards rushing.Yuma ran 71 plays to just 33 for Pine Bluffs, held a 32:22-15:38 time of possession advantage, had 23 first downs to six for the Hornets, and averaged 5.8 yards per rush out of the shotgun doublewing offense.
“Winning the home opener is big,” Seward said.
Senior Cayden Lynch rushed for 195 yards on 34 carries, with four touchdowns and four two-point conversions. Clay Robinson rushed for 64 yards on eight carries, but left with a nagging injury, Aiden Blanco 60 yards and a touchdown on six carries, Yahir Trejo 51 yards on 11 carries, and Chase McCreath and Joey Ross 14 yards each.
McCreath completed his only two pass attempts for 54 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown toss to McCreath, and a 34-yarder to Manny Tena, who came up just short of scoring after dragging a defender several yards after the catch.
The defense came up with three turnovers, two interceptions by Tena and one by Rolando Caraveo. Except for a few pass completions, the Hornets found little success after burning Yuma for some big plays last season.
“I think we just had a good plan and the kids did a great job carrying it out,” Seward said.
Lynch got the scoring going with a four-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter.
The Indians kept feeding him the ball, and he hit paydirt again on the next drive on a five-yard run early in the second. He then ran in the 2-point conversion for a 14-0 Yuma lead.
Yuma scored again with 25 seconds left in the first half on McCreath’s pass to Robinson, followed by Lynch’s 2-point run for a 22-0 lead.
Pine Bluffs then quickly put together its only drive of the game. Two quick passes and a run set up a 37-yard field goal right before the intermission.
However, it did not change the momentum any as the defense hung tough in the third until the offense broke through again with a 30-yard TD run by Lynch, who also ran in the 2-point conversion, late in the quarter.
Lynch capped Yuma’s next drive with a 1-yard plunge with 8 minutes, 13 seconds left in the game, and again ran in the 2-point conversion for a 38-3 lead.
The benches were emptied late in game, and junior Aiden Blanco took the last of his six touches 39 yards to the house for the game’s final score.
Defensively, Ross was in on five total tackles, McCreath four, Louden Blach four, Lynch three, Kail Cooper three, Lars Sims two, Jose Ruiz two, and Tena, Jonathan Rascon, Trejo, Eduardo Corral, Lane Remmich, Caraveo, Dylan Dreiling, Gabe Schulte, Creighton Eyring, J Gordo and Logan Schulte one each.
It should be noted before we are done that Yuma’s new offensive line did a fantastic job all night, featuring Andre Baucke, who filled in for injured starter Joan Yanez at center, Ruiz, Dreiling, Gordo, Sims, and Eyring, Rascon, Remmich and Corral on the outside of the line.
(Statistics courtesy of Yuma statistician Kristin Metcalfe)