Bring a seat to Wray
Yuma fans fortunate enough to have a ticket to the Harvest Cup showdown between ancient rivals Yuma and Wray will need to bring their own seating.
Wray does not have any bleachers set up on the visitors’ side this season. Fans can bring lawn chairs or blankets, and sit on the flat area on top of the “bowl.” Yuma fans will park in the elementary school parking lot, and follow the path around the east side of the school and enter the facility on the east side of Powell Field. Each team is allowed 175 spectators.
Friday’s game begins at 6 p.m.
The winner will get the Harvest Cup for the next year. Yuma reclaimed the Cup last year with a win in Yuma, the first time the Indians won the county showdown since 2014. Yuma has won the Cup only three times since it was first introduced in 2009.
The Harvest Cup will sit behind the Yuma bench during the game, and will be presented to the winning team at game’s conclusion.
Improving Tribe’s season comes down to annual rivalry game
Yuma High School’s football team enters its big season finale still on the fringe of the postseason.
The Indians also are heading toward actually playing the six opponents that were on their schedule from the start of the season.
The Harvest Cup showdown at ancient rival Wray, Friday night, carries not only local bragging rights — and a chance for the Indians to keep hold of the Cup for a second straight year — it also carries serious playoff implications.
If the game goes off as planned, and it appears everything is in place for the 6 p.m. kickoff at Powell Field, it also means the Indians will have played their full schedule.
That’s noteworthy, as teams throughout the state have had to scramble to fill in opponents one week to the next throughout this six-game 2020 COVID season.
Just in Yuma’s and Wray’s North Central Conference alone, front-runner Limon has canceled its last two games of the regular season, against playoff contenders Wray and Holyoke, Wray has had to scramble for different opponents twice, Holyoke has had three of its games impacted, and Burlington missed three full weeks before trying to squeeze in four games in two weeks, including three in six days.
(Wray and Limon both are 3-0 in NCC play — MaxPreps has the Eagles at 3-1 in conference, but that is incorrect since the Limon game had to be switched out with a non-conference game. It would seem Wray would claim the NCC title with a win over Yuma, since the Eagles would finish 4-0 in NCC play, while Limon will finish 3-0 in conference play.)
Meanwhile, the Indians have somehow navigated through it all week to week, on the verge of completing its schedule as first laid out by CHSAA in late September, when the decision was made to go ahead with a fall football season in Colorado.
The season started right after YHS came off two weeks of quarantine and remote learning, opening on a Monday night — the only real COVID impact the Indians have experienced. They played Limon in the season opener, caught Burlington a few days after it came off a two-week quarantine-remote learning stretch, and everyone else on the schedule — Platte Canyon, Highland, and Wiggins — has avoided COVID complications.
The relative normalcy, and adjustments to the lineup, have allowed the Indians to improve week-to-week, and seem to be playing their best ball entering the regular-season ending Yuma County Showdown for the Harvest Cup.
Yuma is on a two-game winning streak, the latest victory being a 49-16 dismantling of the Wiggins Tigers, in the YHS homecoming game held on a sunny and warm, but windy, Saturday that had all the looks of a November playoff afternoon, but was instead a regular-season game in this most unusual of years.
They are now 3-2 on the season, still with a slim chance of making the postseason, though probably no better than the eighth and final seed. It will take a win over their archrival, as well as an upset loss by Highland, to have any kind of shot at extending its season.
Yuma enters the final week No. 11 in the Rating Percentage Index. Wray is No. 8, Highland No. 9 and Peyton No. 10. Highland, 3-2, plays at Wiggins this week. Peyton’s regular-season finale against Colorado Springs Christian has been canceled, due to COVID issues at CSC. Peyton will finish with a 4-1 record. (The RPI is just part of the equation for determining the eight-team playoff field.)
Wray was scheduled for a major NCC showdown at Limon last Friday before the Badgers ran afoul of the novel coronavirus. The Eagles instead traveled Saturday to 2A power Platte Valley, holding their own in a 48-38 loss in Kersey. It was their first loss of the season. Wray also had its non-conference game with Jefferson canceled, so the Eagles instead blew out 3A Niwot a couple of weeks ago.
Holyoke is 4-1, losing to Wray two weeks ago. The Dragons’ game with Limon this week has been canceled. It was not known by the Pioneer if they picked up another opponent to conclude the regular season.
Limon is 4-0 and headed toward the postseason. Burlington lost at Highland last Friday, dropping to 0-4, including three losses in six days. The Cougars close out their season Saturday with a non-league game. Wiggins dropped to 1-4 with its loss at Yuma, and closes out its season with a chance to help the Indians by possibly upsetting Highland this week. (Turns out the Tigers couldn’t do it, losing 46-18 to Highland on Thursday night, leaving the Huskies at 4-2, and very much in the playoff hunt. Highland and Wray did not play each other this season.)
It has been feast or famine for the Indians in 2020. Their two losses have come by a combined 80-0, and their three wins by a combined 120-23.
Perhaps Friday in Wray will finally provide a close game.
Last Saturday’s windy conditions, featuring a stiff breeze straight out of the south, definitely provided a bit of irony to the proceedings. Wiggins had been among the leaders that came out against CHSAA’s original plan of having football in March and April, arguing that the windy conditions in the spring would not be conducive to football.
Turns out the wind blows in the autumn as well in northeast Colorado.
Not that it probably played much of a role in the final outcome in a game dominated by the Tribe.
The wind’s real impact was revealed in Yuma’s kickoffs, as Alex Lozano sailed two through the uprights with the wind at his back.
It also contributed to the fact Wiggins started all but two of its drives from its own 20-yard line. The Tigers also refused to punt all game, despite turning the ball over on downs frequently in its own territory. The Indians’ offense was more than happy to oblige, continually capitalizing on a short field to score touchdowns.
Of course, that was in large part to a great defensive effort again by the Indians, buoyed by an offense that kept on scoring.
Yuma rolled up 327 total yards, including 261 rushing yards, while Wiggins was limited to 200 total yards and two late meaningless touchdowns.
There was no scoring in the first quarter.
The Indians made up for lost time in the second, however. Clay Robinson got the scoring going with a 15-yard TD run less than 2 minutes into the quarter. Lozano, who made all seven of his extra-point kicks Saturday, booted the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
After another turnover on downs by Wiggins, Robinson capped a fairly short drive with a three-yard run.
The Indians went to the air late in the quarter, capping another drive after a turnover on downs with Robinson and Aiden Blanco teaming up on an 18-yard TD, with Blanco running for much of the yards after the catch and benefitting from solid downfield blocking.
Yuma led 21-0 at halftime, during which Lane Remmich and Kimberly Guerrero were crowned the homecoming king and queen.
Yuma posted two more touchdowns in the third quarter to take a 35-0 lead.
Wiggins finally got on the board in the final minutes of the the third to make it 35-8.
However, Yuma came right back with a scoring drive capped by Robinson’s 15-yard TD pass to Kevin Hermosillo for a 49-8 lead.
Wiggins scored in the final minute to account for the final score.
Robinson ran for 180 yards and a four touchdowns, but the offense showed a little diversity with the pass as well. Robinson completed four of five attempts for 81 yards and two touchdowns, accounting for 261 total yards. Blanco had three receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown, and Hermosillo one catch for 15 yards and a TD.
Yahir Trejo ran for 33 yards on 13 carries, Ethan Goeglein 23 yards and a TD on eight carries, Nash Richardson one carry for 10 yards, Cristian Duarte one carry for six yards and Blanco one for four yards.
Defensively, Kail Cooper, who left the game in the second half with an arm injury, was in on eight tackles, Lane Remmich six, Eduardo Corral five, Trejo five, Lars Sims four, Will Marshall three, Damon Thornton three, Louden Blach (who also left with an injury in the second half) three, Christian Quezada three, Victor Perez three, Robinson two, Hermosillo two, Joey Ross two, Ethan Gonzales two, and Rigo Muela, Kallen Blach, Joan Yanez, Blanco, Juan Cortes, and Trey Stegman one each.
Thornton had an interception.
Yuma went a second straight game without committing a turnover.