YFT heads to CSCS to battle for semifinal berth

The Yuma Football Team has a chance to advance to the Class 1A semifinals for the first time in 13 years, and earn a little redemption along the way, when it travels to Colorado Springs on Friday.

Yuma, 7-3, is in the quarterfinals for the second straight season after last Saturday’s 42-6 beatdown of Rye on the YFT’s home field. It is the first time Yuma has won a first-round game in consecutive years since 2008 and 2009.
The former Indians reached the semifinals each of those seasons, including winning a state championship in ‘09. The program has not gone that deep into the postseason since.
“I hope its a new normal,” head coach Kelly Seward said. “I’m hoping November in Yuma is for football from here on out.”
Yuma’s latest quarterfinal will be at Mountain Lion Field on the University of Colorado/Colorado Springs campus, where Colorado Springs Christian School plays its home games, for a 6 p.m. kickoff on Friday. It likely will be played in bitterly chilly conditions, and is the first time Yuma football has had a Friday night playoff game in decades, if ever.
“It will be a bit chilly, but I thknk we’re in a good place right now,” Seward said. “I think maybe we got our mojo back.”
Yuma traveled to CSCS’s home field for a first-round game in 2019. The then-Tribe ran out to a 14-0 lead, only to see the Lions methodically work their way back for a 17-14 win. It was Yuma’s first playoff game since 2013.
This year’s seniors were freshmen that season, and while they did not see much varsity time, they certainly remember the visit. The coaching staff definitely does.
“They know, they know,” Seward said of the seniors. “It’s motivation for sure for the coaches, I can tell you that.”
CSCS is 7-3 and entered the playoffs as the 13th seed. However, the Lions went to Buena Vista last Friday and pulled off a thrilling 21-18 win over the fourth seed. Yuma and CSCS have a couple of common opponents — CSCS lost 31-29 to Rye, and beat Banning Lewis 26-22; Yuma blew out both teams.
Yuma rolled Saturday afternoon, setting up the rematch from 2019 on the same field.
Friday night’s winner will advance to the semifinals next weekend against either top-seed Limon or eighth-seed Monte Vista, which play Saturday afternoon in Limon. (Not to look too far ahead, but if Yuma can win Friday, it will host the semifinal no matter the opponent, either by having less home games than Limon, or being the higher seed than Monte Vista.)
All six teams in the former North Central Conference, now known as 1A League 4, qualified for the 16-team playoff field, with four advancing to the quarterfinals.
Burlington, which went winless in league play, got it going last Friday night with a 41-7 loss at second-seed, sending the Cougars into the offseason with six straight losses.
Holyoke closed the regular season with wins over Yuma and Burlington to climb to the ninth seed. The Dragons had their chances last Saturday before finally falling 28-21 at Monte Vista.
Third-seed Wiggins opened the postseason with a 52-20 win over North Fork, while sixth-seed Wray rolled past Meeker 34-0. The two now meet in the quarterfinals on Saturday in Wiggins, just two weeks after Wiggins beat Wray 28-14 in the regular season finale on the Tigers’ home field.
The other quarterfinal is Strasburg hosting seventh-seed, and defending 1A champion, Centauri, which beat Gunnison 26-14, on Saturday.
Last Saturday was the first time Yuma opened the playoffs at home since 2013, when the then-Indians rolled to a 42-0 win over Rye.
It was mostly the same scenario in 2022, as Yuma handled the Thunderbolts 42-6.
The only difference nine years later was Rye struck first for an early 6-0 lead.
“Emotions were high and I think we were a little nervous,” Seward said, noting about half of Rye’s offensive yards came on three plays early in the game.
However, it was all Yuma after that.
“I thought we came out a little flat for some reason, but after we got that second touchdown you could see the excitement pick up,” Seward said.

The YFT snapped a three-game winning streak by piling up 345 total yards, including 335 on the ground, while Rye was limited to 180 total yards, 166 rushing and 14 passing.
Yuma finally answered Rye’s opening score with Ethan Goeglein’s 58-yard touchdown run at the start of the second quarter. Alex Lozano’s extra point gave Yuma a 7-6 lead.
That seemed to open the floodgates.
Yuma scored again on its next possession, capped by Silas Baucke’s four-yard run. Lozano’s kick made it 14-6.
The YFT scored again with two minutes left in the first half on Nash Richardson’s one-yard run. The extra point was wide left, leaving Yuma ahead 20-6 at halftime.
Richardson broke free for a 31-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter. Lozano then was given a chance to make up for the missed extra point by running in the 2-point conversion for a 28-6 lead.
Yuma then tacked on two more touchdowns in the fourth — Goeglein capping a drive with a three-yard run with 8:29 left, and Kallen Blach breaking free for a 34-yard touchdown with 4:33 to go. Lozano drilled the extra point after both to account for the final 42-6 score.
“The coaches did a good job of staying balanced,” Seward said of the varied rushing attack. “I thought the offensive line was phenomenal. They weren’t always doing the right thing, but if you play with that type of intensity and power, the backs are going to find the holes.”
Yuma averaged 7.6 yards per rushing attempt. Richardson ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, Goeglein 102 yards and two TDs on 10 carries, Baucke 76 yards and a score on 14 carries, and Blach 45 yards and a TD on five carries. Richardson completed his only pass, for 10 yards to Daman Hernandez.
Yuma did not commit a turnover, while Rye had one, an interception by Hernandez. Both teams had only five penalties, and Rye actually won the time of possession by about five minutes.
Blach was in on nine total tackles, Kevin Hermosillo six, Cesar Varela six, Jonathan Thomson five, Victor Perez five, Zeke Martinez five, Baucke five, Hernandez four, Nathan Etl four, Goeglein three, Carson Lynch three, Jake Hagemeier three, Johnny Carrillo three, Richardson two, Trey Stegman two, Hugo Montes two, and Jesus Ross, David Covarrubias, Daden Beauprez and Reyli Trejo one each.
Yuma never punted.
“We keep playing with that intensity, good things will happen from here on out,” Seward said. “I truly believe we’re a top four team in the state. We need to go get the win this week to get us into the semifinals, and then you never know what could happen.”