Outlaws out in first round but future could be bright

A gutty effort was not quite enough as the Yuma High School football team saw its season come to an end last Saturday in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs.
The Outlaws had players missing due to injury and had several underclassmen in the lineup for their game at third-seed Gunnison on a beautiful fall afternoon on the Western Slope. They gave it a good effort, but just could not keep up with the Cowboys, who sent the Outlaws home with a 28-14 loss.

“If there was a way to sum up our season, it was that game right there,” head coach Kelly Seward said. “We can play two, two-and-a-half quarters with anyone, but we can’t put four quarters together.”
Gunnison now will welcome the Indians of Strasburg to town for a quarterfinal showdown Saturday afternoon.
All the top seeds won last weekend, so all the higher seeds will host the quarterfinals this Saturday. Top-seed Limon will host eighth-seed Banning Lewis, which knocked off Wiggins 21-2 last Saturday. Also on that side of the bracket, fourth-seed Meeker will host fifth-seed Buena Vista.
It will be a North Central Conference showdown Saturday in Holyoke as the second-seed Dragons host seventh-seed Wray. The winner will get the Gunnison-Strasburg winner.
If one was wondering why a 3-6 team would qualify for the playoffs, consider Limon, Holyoke and Wray beat their opponents worse last Saturday than they did Yuma during the regular season, and the Outlaws lost 14-0 to Banning Lewis, which still is the Stallions’ closest game all season.
“Honestly Banning Lewis should have been the fifth seed,” Seward said. “They’ll be able to match (Limon) physically.”

Photos by Jacob Spetzler/Gunnison Country Times

The Outlaws had some opportunities last Saturday. They ripped off a significant run on their first play. The drive bogged down, but a great punt by Jonathan Thomson led to Damien Kosinski making a great play of downing it at the 1-yard line.
The defense almost got the stop, but Gunnison converted on third down, and proceeded to march down the field for a 99-yard scoring drive capped by Grady Buchanan’s seven-yard run.
Yuma could have rolled over after that. Instead, the Outlaws showed character. The offense continued to struggle but the defense proved stout by holding the Cowboys out of the end zone the rest of the first half.
Gunnison finally broke free in the third quarter with three rushing touchdowns, two by Buchanan and one from Royce Uhrig, who spent his early years in Brush.
Still, the Outlaws continued to prove scrappy. They broke into the scoring column on a six-yard TD pass from Thomson to Brody Sheffield in the fourth. They scored again on Kosinski’s 10-yard run, and Thomson ran in the 2-point conversion for a respectable final score of 28-14.
“If that fourth quarter doesn’t get you excited for next year,” Seward commented. “The kids just kept battling and battling.”
The Outlaws actually outgained the Cowboys, 362 total yards to 283. They had their best balanced attack of 2023, running for 199 yards and passing for 131. Gunnison did most of its damage on the ground with 215 yards.
Thomson ran for 137 yards on 32 carries, and also completed seven of 12 passes for 131 yards, accounting for 268 total yards from scrimmage. Kosinski ran for 96 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown, and caught six passes for 125 yard for 221 total yards. Sheffield had the one touchdown catch for six yards.
Defensively, Thomson had an interception. He was in on seven total tackles, Marvin Duarte seven, Trey Stegman six, Reyli Trejo six, Hugo Montes five, Christian Thomson four, Giovanny Segura four, Kosinski three, Jesus Gordo three, Sheffield two, Bridger Lynch one, and Carson Lynch one.
Yuma finished with a 3-7 record but have a lot of players returning next season and into the future.
Saturday’s game was the last in the high school careers for seniors Hugo Montes, Trey Stegman, Bridger Lyunch, Jared Wario, Braden Brunk, Deacon Brown, Pablo Becerra, and Carson Lynch.
Seward saluted the seniors for their years of service to Yuma football. Underclassmen dominated the lineup by the end thanks to injuries.
“Realistically our whole team is back except for a few positions,” he said. “It should be a lot of fun.”