Yuma football hosts Burns, WY, in opener

It is time for the Yuma High School football team to get busy on Friday nights.
The Indians open the 2021 campaign at home against Burns, Wyoming.
“We just need to get to Friday night and see who we are,” head coach Kelly Seward said. “Once the the lights turn on, we will be ready to go.”

The football program is coming off back-to-back winning seasons — going 6-3 and making the playoffs in 2019, followed by a 4-3 effort in the shortened 2020 season, missing the reduced eight-team playoff field.
The goals are high for the Tribe, as Seward and his staff enter their fourth season. The head coach had previously stated it was time to finally host a playoff game again. The last time that occurred was in 2013.
A challenging schedule begins immediately, as Seward said Burns will bring an athletic and speedy squad to Yuma. He said Burns likes to spread it out on offense, noting the closest resemblance to Burns’ attack is Wiggins, with a lot of wideouts and spread formations.
“They just want to spread you out and get you in space,” Seward said. “The key for us is to keep the ball in front of us and fill the gaps.”
He said a key will be to knock out some first downs and score early, which will allow the Tribe to dictate the game with its rush-oriented attack.
The Indians eventually will be looking to open up its doublewing offense more with the passing game. Seward said the offense will give opponents more looks in 2021, but early on the focus will be on establishing the running game because “no one is going to bite on the play-action pass if you can’t run the ball.” He noted the offensive scheme provides more options than previous versions of the doublewing utilized at YHS, but it still will be predicated on the run game’s success.
The football team has been practicing since the first days of August, getting in a home scrimmage against Merino, then scrimmaging at Northfield last Friday, along with Niwot and Flatirons Academy.
Seward said he was encouraged by what he saw in the scrimmages, but there still are things to clean up.
“We need to pay attention to the little things,” he said. “That’s what is killing us at times.”
There is plenty of promising potential on both sides of the ball.
Defensively, the line will be anchored by senior Jose Ruiz and junior Victor Perez on the edge, with seniors Lars Sims or Andre Baucke on the inside. The interior linebackers are senior Yahir Trejo and junior Ethan Gonzalez, with juniors Kevin Hermosillo and Kallen Blach manning the outside linebacker spots.
In the secondary, the starting cornerbacks are going to be senior John Smith and junior Jesus Ross, with senior Clay Robinson and junior Daman Thornton at the safety spots. There are plenty of other players available to step in when needed.
“We have spped on the back side, and we have depth,” Seward said.
Offensively, everything begins with the big fellas up front. Senior Tyler Allen is penciled in at center, with Ruiz and Perez at guard, and senior Andre Baucke and junior Cesar Varela at the tackles. The X and Y spots (tight ends) are to be manned by Hermosillo and Gonzalez.
In the backfield, one will find Robinson at quarterback, Trejo as the featured running back, Blach at fullback, and Ross at the “4” back position, with Thornton also in the running for playing time at that position.

The Indians have some speed and size on both sides of the ball.
“At the end of the day, physicality is going to be our best friend,” Seward said.
It all begins Friday night when the boys from Wyoming come to town. Following the Burns game, the Indians have three consecutive non-conference away games at Strasburg, Highland and Sidney, Nebraska, before entering the challenging NCC schedule.
“Friday is pretty important,” Seward said. “We have to get a win because after that the schedule really cranks up.”