SportsThought — Tony Rayl

Tribe’s season actually has been kind of normal
Perhaps the craziest thing of this strangest of all football seasons is that it has been fairly normal for the Yuma High School Indians.
They had a late start to the season, getting their COVID-related quarantines, remote learning out of the way at the beginning of preseason practice. Everybody got back in time for the even-more delayed Monday Night Football opener at Limon on October 12. (Limon is now going through its own hassles, not playing the last two games of the regular season. It’s school website states 13 staff members, along with students throughout the Limon schools, have tested positive and are quarantine/remote learning from this past Monday through November 19 — just in time for the postseason.)
It has been fairly smooth sailing for the Indians since that rough start. No outbreaks, no issues in the Yuma schools, and all of their opponents have been available to play.
And now two Yuma County schools are going to conclude the regular season by playing each other.
Wray has had to scramble twice for opponents, but never because of issues in its own school.
The YC was hit hard by a spike in cases in September and October, and both schools had moments of quarantine/remote learning, but neither had to call off game themselves because of novel coronavirus issues.
Now they meet Friday at 6 p.m. at Powell Field for the Harvest Cup.
For the sake of everyone, I hope this ends up being the best Yuma-Wray game ever. Like three overtimes of incredible play by the guys on both teams.
Doesn’t it just feel like it should go down like that? Some kind of legendary game to bring this whole dang thing to an awesome conclusion, no matter who wins?
We all could use something like that, right?
The fact is Wray has a great shot at the playoffs.
Yuma not so much.
Besides a Tribe victory Friday night, a lot of other things have to fall in Yuma’s favor for them to even get the eight seed for the eight-team playoff field, including Highland getting upset by Wiggins, which I guess could happen.
Wray has a good shot of getting in, even if it lost to the Indians, despite the rivals each finishing at 4-2.
That’s fine. That’s just the way it is.
That Wray squad is good. It avoided playing Limon last week, though no doubt the Eagles badly wanted to play that game. They instead had to schedule a game at 2A power Platte Valley at the last minute, and showed well in a 48-38 loss.
It is going to be a major challenge for the Tribe to win Friday night at Powell Field.
Remember, CHSAA set up this season as a “6 + 1” schedule, meaning teams that don’t make the playoffs can schedule one more game against one of the other non-playoff teams.
However, if the Tribe keeps hold of the Harvest Cup on Friday night, and still don’t qualify for the playoffs, I would say just call it good and move on. Don’t play a seventh game.
I mean, what better way to end the season, especially for the seniors, than to beat the Eagles, and at the same time possibly knock them out of the postseason? Why bother with another meaningless game?
Now, I know that is not reality.
Coaches would always want an extra game. And why not? It means another week of practices for all those players coming back next season, and gives the seniors another week of camaraderie with their teammates, which only those who have played football can truly understand.
What if the Indians lose on Friday? Then by all means schedule a seventh game, go for that chance to finish the season on a winning note. I would wager the Indians are among the best of those who do not make the eight-team playoff field.
In the end, the Pioneer will go for whatever happens.
All that really matters is keeping that Harvest Cup at YHS for another year.

Rayl can be reached at [email protected].