Yuma football has opportunity to build some “mo”

Yuma High School’s football team has an opportunity to build some serious momentum heading into conference play next week.
The Tribe closes out the non-conference portion of its schedule Friday at Sidney, Nebraska. (Kickoff 7 p.m.) It travels to the panhandle sporting a 2-1 record after a key 28-21 win over the Highland Huskies, last Friday in Ault.

Highland was ranked No. 10 in Class 1A at the time of last Friday’s game. The Huskies have since dropped out, while Yuma has reentered the Top 10 at No. 9 this week (CHSAANow.com polls). The Indians are one spot ahead of Strasburg, which pulled out a last-minute victory over the Tribe earlier this month, but sit at 1-3 while playing a very difficult schedule.
As for the Rating Percentage Index, Yuma currently sits at No. 18, but has plenty of opportunities to move up as four North Central Conference teams are in the top 10 of the RPI this week — Limon at No. 4, Holyoke No. 7, Wray No. 8 and Wiggins No. 10.
As for the Top 10, the NCC has five of the spots with Limon at No. 1, Wray No. 5, Holyoke No. 7, Wiggins No. 8 and Yuma at No. 9.
Yuma will be facing a bigger school when it travels to Sidney, Friday. The Red Raiders currently are 2-2. They opened with a 36-6 win at Bridgeport, then squeaked past Chase County, 8-6. They have lost their last two, 38-28 at Cozad and 21-12 to Holdrege.
Friday’s game could go quickly as both teams favor the ground game, which keeps the clock running. Sidney has passed for only 77 yards in four games, but has pounded out 1,142 yards on the ground, led by senior Nathan Kennedy with 473 rushing yards. Sophomore Luke Holly has 325 rushing yards.
Yuma lost senior quarterback/rusher Clay Robinson to injury in the second half last Friday. It was not known by the Pioneer what his status is for this week.
Robinson has run for 605 yards and seven touchdowns through three games. He also has completed nine of 18 pass attempts for 155 yards and one TD.
There is plenty of NCC action this week as teams wrap up non-conference contests. Holyoke is 2-1 and hosts Lamar on Friday, while undefeated Wiggins is at Flatirons Academy. Undefeated Limon hosts Coal Ridge on Saturday. Burlington picked up a game with Wray last Saturday after coming out of quarantine, losing 34-0 and now is at Rye on Saturday. Wray, 3-1, is in its bye week.
Yuma was coming off its bye week when it traveled to Ault, last Friday. Highland came to town last season and handed the Tribe a big loss.
The Indians returned the favor with a mostly-dominating performance against the Huskies.
Yuma had 410 total yards, compared to 261 for Highland, and ran 27 more plays. Yuma averaged 6 yards per rush while gaining 353 on the ground.
Yuma set the tone on its first drive with a lengthy possession that ate up nearly the first seven minutes. It was capped by Yahir Trejo’s one-yard plunge, and Alex Lozano kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
Both teams took turns coming up short at the end of time-consuming drives, before the first half ended with a flurry of scoring.
Four touchdowns were scored over the last 3 minutes, 6 seconds.
It began with Robinson capping a drive with a four-yard TD run. Lozano’s PAT made it 14-0.
However, Highland struck right back when Caleb Polk returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards, slicing the Indians’ lead in half.
Yuma came right back, though, with Robinson ripping off a 63-yard touchdown run to put Yuma up 21-7 after Lozano’s PAT.
The scoring was not done yet, though, as Highland quickly marched downfield to score on Sam Hnizdil’s nine-yard pass to Nathen Martinez with 20 seconds left. The PAT was good, and Yuma clung to a 21-14 halftime lead.
Neither team scored in the third, when Robinson was lost to injury and Kevin Hermosillo had to leave the lineup.
Junior Nash Richardson stepped in admirably at quarterback, and the Indians offense provided a steady dose of power running by Trejo and Richardson.
It led to Trejo’s short TD run early in the fourth quarter as Yuma regained a 14-point lead, 28-14.
However, back came Highland, scoring three minutes later on a short run and making the PAT to make it a seven-point game again.

Yuma, though, was able to keep eating up the clock, and escaped with the win. The Indians turned the ball over on downs late in the game, but Highland had precious little time to do anything with it.
Robinson ran for 204 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. Trejo pounded out 130 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, while Richardson added 27 yards on six carries. Jesus Ross had two carries for seven yards, and John Smith one for three.
Robinson completed five of eight passes for 57 yards. Ross had a big reception, going for 32 yards, while Smith had two catches for 16 yards, and Daman Thornton two for nine.
Defensively, Trejo was in on eight total tackles, including two for a loss, Smith six, Thornton five, Ross four, Kallen Blach four, Hermosillo three, Ethan Gonzales three, Robinson two, Victor Perez two, Conner Lynch two, Richardson one, Ezekial Martinez one, and Trey Stegman one.
There was only one turnover in the game, a lost fumble by Highland.
Yuma controlled the time of possession, converting eight of 12 third-down attempts, and three of five fourth-down attempts.