SportsThought — Tony Rayl

Someday need to come home with a win
Someday, we have to come back from Wray with a football win.
Honestly, I love Powell Field. It is my favorite football venue in the region. Plus, it has great lighting for taking photos. (I promise, if I win the lottery, I will pay — after all my own debts are paid off and college covered for my family — for new, top-notch lighting at all the YHS ball fields. Why wasn’t that included in the bond issue? It would have been a miniscule amount out of a $32 million project.)
Still, I also hate Powell Field because we always, always, come home with the “L.”
It’s just painful for everyone involved.
I will date myself a bit here, but I have covered YHS football since the 1989 season. I remember the Tribe winning once in Wray at the old field where the hospital now sits. (Remember that venue? The Wray team would have halftime in a residential garage across the street, while the visitor would go to the end zone or its team bus. What a time.)
Powell Field was created soon after that Yuma win.
It has not improved the Tribe’s success any.
I honestly remember the Indians winning at Powell Field only once, in the early 2000s when both teams were legitimate state-title contenders. It seems both teams were ranked in the top 5 that season. Even then it was a close game.
Take that in for a moment — Yuma has won a varsity football game in Wray only two times in 31 seasons. I might be missing a victory, but I really doubt that as I would assume it would be clear in my mind, as addled as it is anymore.
Yuma has won the Harvest Cup three times since it was first introduced in 2009, and all the Yuma wins have come on the home field.
The Indians have been blown out plenty of times at Powell Field through the years. There have been some close ones, but the Tribe has never been able to find that extra something to pull out the win. This year, we led at halftime. I can’t forget four years ago when we were on the Wray one or two-yard line with a chance to win, but tried a pass instead of pounding in the ball. There was a time back in the Ron Johnson years when the Indians had several shots at the end zone to claim the win, but could not convert, losing 15-9. (Don’t ask me why I remember that particular score, some just stick in the memory bank for whatever reason.)
Yuma has enjoyed some dominating wins in Yuma, such as back in the Guy Tuell season, and in 2009 when the Tribe won the state championship.
Sure, it is nice YHS boys basketball beat Wray in every game every season for something like 10 years (I think it was like 2006 to 2015.) Even after losing once, in a district pig-tail game in The Pit, the Indians have had their way on the hardcourt since. However, we all know football is king when it comes to Yuma-Wray tilts. It is the contest of the ancient rivalry.
And to that end, we have been severely lacking in wins over the past three decades, plus.
It sure would be nice to see that turned around sometime before I get too old to even be aware the Tribe even won.
I know, it’s not about me. The kids and coaches through the decades have tried their hardest. They were the ones battling in the arena, not me.
But wouldn’t it be wonderful to leave Powell Field with a win, and the Harvest Cup, a few times in the coming decade?
It’s time to flip this rivalry.
OK, now switching gears a bit.
It is sounding like if we do have a wrestling and basketball season after the holidays, it likely will involve the competitors having to wear masks.
It is not clear how many spectators could attend, though they likely would have to wear masks and socially distance from those not living in their household.
With COVID-19 cases rising in most places, just like it was predicted, it is probably a reality with which we all will have to deal.
Still, for the kids, isn’t that better than not having a season at all? If nothing else, it would be something they could look back on as they get older and tell their kids and grandkids about how they had to wear a mask while playing, and played before few fans, who also were distanced and masked.
If that is how it goes down, it will be the teams with the players, coaches and parents who step up to the challenge, accept the inconvenience and just get on with it.
I really want winter sports after the holidays, as long as we can keep the kids and the coaches safe. I don’t care what you personally think of COVID, it will remain a priority, and it should be.

Rayl can be reached at [email protected]