Long preseason getting shorter for Indians

Football started early, and school is starting late.
That has kind of created a challenge for the Yuma High School football team, players and coaches.
Since they did not go to a summer camp, YHS was able to begin practice August 2, giving them four full weeks of practice prior to the season opener, and the ability to play two scrimmages.
“The biggest challenge right now is finding out what works best for the kids to show up for practice,” head coach Kelly Seward said, noting some are still working since school does not begin until September 7, and the Yuma County Fair came during the second week. “It would be easier if school started already.”
However, he said he is not one to tell a kid not to earn some money, or have a fair project, admitting he even missed one practice last week as his oldest son Stevie was showing a steer at the fair.
That made it tough for everyone to get in their nine allotted practices prior to last Friday’s home scrimmage against the eight-man team the Merino Rams. However, the Indians had a great run, showing a lot of promise.
They will be on the scrimmage trail again Friday as they go to Northfield in Denver, joined by Niwot and Flatirons Academy.
“Friday will be great,” noting that it is always important to keep the JV players involved. “It will kind of give us a handle of where we’re at. Each day is getting a little more normal.”
The Indians open the 2021 season August 27 at home against Burns, Wyoming.
The program lost 16 seniors from last year’s 4-3 team. It was the second straight winning season for the Indians, though they missed the playoff field due to a reduction to eight players.
The turnout has remained in the low 40s throughout this preseason, with several key players returning despite the loss of last year’s seniors.
Seward said he is encouraged by the play of the offensive linemen.
“We have size, but what has surprised me is we’re more mobile up front,” he said. “When these kids just play, they come out fast and come at you.”
He noted it is on the coaching staff to get the players to the point they know what they are seeing before the snap so they can just go out and play. “We need to put kids in the right position to be successful,” Seward said.
The head coach and his assistants are entering their fourth year running the football program. He expressed a desire to open up the offense more in the passing game to take some pressure off the rushing attack.
“We have the pieces to be a helluva team to stop offensively,” Seward said. “We have to play the game fast.”
He also stated the Indians’ goal in 2021 is to host a playoff game. The last time that occurred was in 2013.
“It’s been a long time, and we have to get back to having them here,” Seward said. “We have to find a way to get into the top eight (in 1A).”
It will be a challenging season as besides Burns, the Indians also play 1A-power Strasburg, a Highland team that made the playoffs last year, and Sidney, Nebraska. Then come North Central Conference games against the likes of three-time defending champion Limon, ancient rival Wray and Holyoke.
“Our RPI will be in our favor,” Seward noted. “There are no weak spots on our schedule, but I feel we have the guys to get it done.”