Tribe needs win at Holyoke

Yuma High School’s football team likely can secure a playoff berth if it can win its 2021 regular season finale, Friday night at Holyoke.
The Indians have lost three of four North Central Conference contests, including last Friday’s 13-7 home heartbreaker to ancient rival Wray, dropping to 4-4 overall.

However, they still were No. 14 in the Class 1A Rating Percentage Index, heading into the season finale.
A victory over the Dragons likely will leave them within the 16-team playoff field. It definitely would secure the program’s third straight winning season at 5-4. The Tribe even could possibly sneak in at 4-5, but that would take a lot of help.
The Indians’ playoffs hopes are precarious because of a series of close losses. Besides a blowout loss to top-ranked Limon, which is crushing everyone on its schedule, the Tribe’s other three losses are by a combined 11 points — 16-13 at Strasburg in a non-league game, 30-28 at Wiggins in a NCC game, and last Friday’s painful Harvest Cup loss.
Friday night’s game in Holyoke likely will be another close contest, but it will take a great effort by the Tribe to pull out the win.
Holyoke is No. 11 in the RPI, sitting at 5-3 overall, 2-2 in NCC play, after losing 40-14 at home to Limon, last Saturday. The Dragons are led by Miles Sprague, Wyatt Sprague and Tyson Mosenteen. They are not afraid to the go the air, but definitely are tilted toward the ground game.
Last week’s other NCC game saw Wiggins rolling to a 40-0 win at Burlington.
The last weekend of the regular season includes Limon hosting Wiggins, Friday night, and Wray at Burlington. Limon is 8-0 overall, 4-0 in NCC play, Wray is 6-2, 3-1, Wiggins 6-2, 2-2, and Burlington is in last place at 2-6, 0-4.
As far as the RPI is concerned, Limon is No. 3 (behind Centauri and Buena Vista), Wray No. 4, Wiggins No. 7, and Holyoke No. 11. Burlington is No. 22.
In the Class 1A Top 10, Limon is No. 1, Wray No. 5, Holyoke No. 7 and Wiggins No. 10. The Top 10 rankings also will factor into the postseason seeding.
Yuma had its opportunities to seize the Harvest Cup back from Wray, last Friday. The Indians have won the showdown for the traveling trophy only three times since it was first introduced in 2009, the last time being a home victory in 2019. All three of Yuma’s wins in the Harvest Cup era have been at home.
Clay Robinson ripped off a 48-yard touchdown run less than two minutes into the game. Alex Lozano’s extra point gave the Indians a 7-0 lead.
Wray converted a fourth-and-three later in the first quarter, then overcame a penalty at the goal line to cap the drive on quarterback Casey Midcap’s nine-yard run. Bryant Schoenthal’s extra point left the teams tied at 7.
It stayed that way for most of the next two quarters.
Yuma had its chances, twice missing a wide open receiver who had gotten past the Wray secondary.
Wray missed a chance late in the second quarter when a promising drive was stopped by John Smith’s interception at the 17-yard line.
The Eagles controlled the ball for nearly all of the third quarter. They finally hit paydirt with 22 seconds left on third-and-12 when Midcap hit Ryce Peterson for a touchdown. The extra point kick was blocked, leaving Yuma trailing by six.
Yuma missed a potential touchdown pass for the third time, with the ball being dropped in this instance.
Smith’s second interception in the fourth put Yuma in business, but the Indians eventually had to punt.
Yuma got the ball back again with 6:41 to play. The Indians converted one third down on a pass, but long run was negated by a penalty.
Wray got the ball back with 4:35 to go. The Eagles converted two fourth downs and were able to run out the clock.
Though the game was close, Wray definitely controlled the trenches. The Eagles ran 73 plays to 40 for Yuma, and won the time of possession 29:25-18:30.
Wray had 351 total yards, 154 passing and 197 running. Yuma had 144 total yards, 29 passing and 115 rushing. It helped Yuma’s cause that Wray had three turnovers to only one for Yuma.
Robinson ran for 103 yards and a TD on 16 carries, while Silas Baucke rushed for 17 yards and Ethan Goeglein seven yards. Robinson completed one pass, to Jesus Ross for 29 yards.
Kallen Blach led a strong defensive effort by being in on 13 total tackles. Andre Baucke was in on nine, Robinson eight, Trey Stegman seven, Kevin Hermosillo seven, Victor Perez six, Goeglein five, Nathan Etl five, Smith three Daman Thornton three, Cesar Varela three, Conner Lynch two, Jose Ruiz two, Ethan Gonzales two, and Christian Quezada, S. Baucke, Lozano, and Jonathan Thomson one each. Smith had the two interceptions.