Yuma football has serious challenge Friday

The first step is out of the way, but the climb gets considerably steeper now for the Yuma High School football team.
The Tribe is 1-0 after dismantling Burns, Wyoming, 41-6, last Friday in the 2021 season opener in Yuma.

However, it now goes on the road for a non-conference game at fourth-ranked Strasburg, which has been among the best in Class 1A for the past decade, including state titles in 2016 and 2017, and then losing the past three championship games to Limon.
Strasburg’s Indians opened the season last Friday with an 18-7 to Platte Valley. However, the Broncos have been a regular playoff participant in Class 2A, and are ranked No. 7 in the classification. If nothing else, it was a quality loss for Strasburg.

Clay Robinson makes a jump-stop move on a Burns Broncs defender, last Friday in the 2021 season opener in Yuma. (Pioneer Photo/Jake Rayl)

However, Yuma also is trying to turn itself into a regular contender again, and for the most part played the role in last Friday’s win over the Broncs.
The Indians were the first team out of the 1A Top 10 when the CHSAANow.com polls were released Monday, with fellow North Central Conference member Wiggins sneaking into No. 10 after opening the season with a win over previously-ranked Highland.
Wray dropped to No. 6 After a 28-14 loss to second-ranked Centauri. Burlington opened with a 14-6 home loss to 2A Elizabeth.
Top-ranked Limon opens its season this weekend against No. 9 Meeker, and No. 8 Holyoke opens Friday at Rye. Wray is at Goodland, Kansas, on Friday, Wiggins host 2A Valley, and Burlington is at 2A Lamar.
Yuma will have a bye next week after the Strasburg game, returning to action September 17 with a non-conference game at Highland in Ault.
Strasburg has lost key players from its recent dominating teams. Many of its key contributors on offense appear to be juniors and sophomores, including a starting sophomore quarterback, but many of the top tacklers and linemen appear to be seniors.
After 2020’s shortened Season A, Yuma returned to a “regular” season last Friday by hosting the Burns Broncs from Wyoming. The Indians will not be at home again until the NCC opener against Limon on October 1.
However, they took full advantage of their only home game in the season’s first five weeks.
Jose Ruiz leads the way as Yahir Trejo runs for good yardage, last Friday in the season opener against Burns, Wyoming. (Pioneer Photo/Jake Rayl)
Yuma outgained the Broncs 400-129, with 371 yards coming on the ground as the Tribe averaged 8.4 yards per rush. Burns had 147 aerial yards, but had minus-18 yards rushing. Both teams had only one turnover, a fumble by Yuma and a pick-six interception by Burns.
Senior quarterback Clay Robinson led the way with 242 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 14 carries, an average of 17.3 yards per attempt.
The Indians opened the game with a three-play scoring drive featuring a 32-yard run by Robinson, a 21-yard run by Jesus Ross, then capped by Robinson’s eight-yard TD run. Alex Lozano kicked the extra point, and Yuma led 7-0 just 1 minute, 15 seconds into the game.
Yuma drove a bit again on its second possession, including a 24-yard completion from Robinson to Ross. However, the offense then bogged down, and Lozano missed a 38-yard field goal attempt.
Burns’ pass-heavy spread offense started finding a rhythm on its next possession, capped by a beautifully-placed 15-yard pass from Caden David to a well-covered Cooper Larkin on fourth-and-10. The extra point was blocked, leaving Yuma ahead 7-6 late in the first quarter.
Yuma lost a fumble on its next possession, but the Yuma defense held heading into the second quarter.
The Indians took complete control after that.
Robinson broke off a 55-yard touchdown run, and Lozano’s extra point made it 14-6.
A sustained Yuma drive then was capped by Robinson’s 15-yard TD run. The extra point was blocked, but Yuma led 20-6.
The Indians stuck a dagger in Burns a short time later when Ross intercepted a David pass, and returned it to paydirt for a 26-6 lead.
Robinson then had an electrifying run on Yuma’s first possession in the third quarter. He took the snap and went left, where he was met by two Burns lineman. He bounced off that, went right along the line of scrimmage, got to the edge and ran through two tackle attempts as he sprinted down the Burns sideline for a 62-yard touchdown. Lozano’s extra point made it 33-6.
Yuma’s defense got a safety on Burns’ next possession.
Yuma defenders put the pressure on the Burns quarterback, last Friday in the 2021 season opener in Yuma. (Pioneer Photo/Jake Rayl)

After Yuma got the ball back on the free kick, Yahir Trejo put the finishing touches on the next drive with a 17-yard touchdown run.
Seward began substituting freely after that as all the Yuma players got plenty of playing time in the final quarter and a half.
Besides Robinson’s big game, Trejo ran for 79 yards and one TD on 11 carries, Ross 21 yards on one carry, Jack Blecha 20 yards on eight attempts, Silas Baucke 19 yards on four carries, and Daman Thornton one carry for five yards.

Robinson completed two of four passes for 29 yards, one to Ross for 24 yards, and one to Thornton for five.
Defensively, the Indians held Burns to completing 12 of 29 passing attempts, though the Broncs’ quarterbacks were victimized by several dropped balls by the receivers. Burns did gain 40 yards on the ground, but negative plays, including sacks, resulted in a negative net rushing total.
Numerous players contributed defensively. Kallen Blach was in on four total tackles, Ross three and the pick-six interception, Trey Stegman three, Trejo three, S. Baucke two, Thornton two, John Smith two, Lars Sims two, and Kevin Hermosillo, Bridger Lynch, Nathan Etl, Daniel Loya, Conner Lynch, Adrian Carranza, Victor Perez, Christian Quezada and Zeke Martinez one each.