Yuma football mostly made the most of 2020

The delayed and shortened 2020 high school football season was an interesting one for sure.
Somehow, however, the Yuma High School Indians successfully navigated through seven games without missing a single contest, finishing 4-3 in the process.

It was the second straight year the Indians finished with a winning record, the first time the program accomplished that since the 2009-2010 seasons.

Lane Remmich heads to the end zone for a long touchdown reception, last Friday. Unfortunately, a penalty robbed the senior of the touchdown. (Pioneer Photo/Jake Rayl)

“I think we’re all learning kids want to be a part of successful season,” head coach Kelly Seward said. “I think you’re seeing kids starting to want to be a part of the program.”
When CHSAA decided in September to go ahead with a fall football season, the Indians got off to a slow start in preseason practices as the majority of the student/athletes were in quarantine. The season opener was pushed back to a Monday night, October 12, and it happened to be at defending-1A champion and preseason No. 1 Limon.
Unsurprisingly, it did not go well for the Indians.
However, that was the only game on Yuma’s schedule that was somewhat impacted by the novel coronavirus. The Indians were able to play each game as scheduled, and that consistency helped the players and staff improve each week.
“We were fortunate to be able to play all our games and do what we did,” Seward said, crediting the staff, players, and the school administration for doing what they could to stay on schedule.
The low point came at home in Week 3, when Highland ran away in the second half to hand the Indians a blowout loss, dropping them to 1-2.
However, the Tribe kept battling and ended up winning three of their last four games, beating Burlington, Wiggins and Prospect Ridge Academy. In fact, the win at Burlington was the first one for the Indians on the Cougars’ homefield in quite some time, maybe more than 30 years (as the Pioneer realized after Seward asked about it).
The Indians’ lone loss during that span was to rival Wray, in which the Indians led 9-6 at halftime. Wray went on to advance to the 1A semifinals, being within three points of top-ranked Limon last Saturday before yielding a touchdown pass in the final two minutes to lose 24-14.
“Obviously we wanted to be one of the eight (who made the playoffs), but I’m glad the guys got to have somewhat of a season,” Seward said. “Hopefully, for these seniors, we gave them something they can remember.”
Aiden Blanco looks for a crease in the Wiggins defense on his way to a touchdown, last Saturday. (Pioneer Photo/Jake Rayl)
This was the third season for Seward and his staff, which has not experienced any turnover. It is the most coaching stability the program has had in years.
“Continuity is a great thing,” Seward said, noting also that the junior high staff has been consistent and has prepared the players for the high school level. “Legitimately, everyone now knows our system when they come to the high school.”
Plus, the JV played four games, going 3-1. The JV lost 8-0 to long-time power Strasburg in its first game, then beat Highland, Limon and Burlington. The JV players also had a key role in a 58-6 rout of Prospect Ridge Academy in the season finale, as several varsity players were sidelined due to injuries and COVID-related quarantines.
“I don’t know if anybody else got in four JV games,” Seward said, crediting YHS AD Michael Dischner for pulling that off. “Those kids showed what they can do in that last game.”
One of the more impressive results from the 2020 season is the fact the Indians committed only five turnovers in seven games, including no turnovers in the last four contests. They also kept the penalties to a minimum all season, except for a few unwise personal fouls here and there.
Seward said assistant coach Caleb Metzler makes a big deal of ball protection in practice, which has paid off. He also noted that while many fans would like to see more passes, “when you put the ball in the air, that’s what happens, especially at the high school level. Control the clock and don’t turn the ball over, that’s our mantra. It’s just focus. We’re not good enough yet to turn the ball over a lot and still win a game.”
Eddie Corral hauls in an interception against Platte Canyon, last Saturday. (Pioneer Photo/Jake Rayl)

Yuma’s doublewing offense continued to find traction. The Indians averaged 258 yards per game, with a total of 1,805 yards in seven games
The Indians ran for 1,637 yards, an average of 240 yards per game. They tacked on another 168 passing yards.
Junior Clay Robinson rushed for 1,049 yards in seven games, an average of 150 yards per game, and rushed for 15 touchdowns. He was moved to quarterback for the season’s last four games, at which point the offense gained more traction.
Yahir Trejo started to find success running as the season progressed. The junior rushed for 275 yards and three touchdowns in six games. Sophomore Ethan Goeglein ran for 197 yards and three touchdowns. Kevin Hermosillo added 51 yards, Jesus Ross 30, and senior Joey Ross 18. Joey Ross was slowed by injuries much of the season.
Robinson completed 10 of 14 pass attempts for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Joey Ross, who started the season at quarterback before getting injured, completed three of seven for 33 yards. Trejo played 1-1/2 games at quarterback, completing two of seven passes for 21 yards.
Aiden Blanco was the team’s leading receiver, with four catches for 84 yards and one touchdown. Hermosillo had three catches for 19 yards and a touchdown, Robinson three for 17 yards, Kallen Blach two for 28, Lane Remmich two for 19, and Ethan Gonzales one catch.
While committing only five turnovers on offense, the defense caused 15 turnovers, six interceptions and nine fumble recoveries. The interceptions were by Rigo Muela, Damon Thornton, Joey Ross, Jesus Ross, Eduardo Corral, and Robinson. The fumble recoveries were by Muela, Trejo, Thortnon, Jesus Ross, K. Blach, Robinson, Kail Cooper, Christian Quezada and Lars Sims.
Louden Blach led the defense with 38 total tackles, while others finishing in double figures for tackles were Trejo with 35, Remmich 29, Joey Ross 28, Juan Cortes 27, Robinson 27, Cooper 24, John Smith 16, Jose Ruiz 15, Corral 15, Sims 15, Hermosillo 12, Thornton 10, and Ethan Gonzales 10.
Cooper led in tackles for losses, and L. Blach had four.
Clay Robinson finds room to run during the win at Burlington, October 31, 2020. (Pioneer Photo)

On special teams, sophomore Alex Lozano had an impressive season as a place kicker, making all 14 of his extra-point kicks. He did not get many opportunities to kick field goals, but he did kick the ball through the uprights twice on kickoffs in the blowout win over Wiggins on a windy Saturday afternoon.
“It’s not going to be a talent issue anymore,” Seward said. “Now what will be the difference is what we do during the next six months. We have to get stronger, plain and simple.
“We just have to build off of it now,” he added.