Yuma football’s tough road leads to Brush next

The Yuma High School football team is going to have its work cut out for them to make the postseason in 2023.

True, the former Indians are 2-1 early in the season. However, they close out the non-conference portion of their schedule Friday at Brush against a tough Beetdiggers squad, then have the North Central Conference five-game gauntlet of Limon, Wray, Holyoke, Wiggins and Burlington to navigate.
Yuma took an early-season stumble last Friday when upstart Banning Lewis laid a 14-0 beating on the Yuma Football Team at Falcon High School. It was the program’s first shutout loss to a non-NCC team in several years.
Now the former Tribe go west to Morgan County for a showdown with long-time rival Brush. The Beetdiggers are 1-1 coming off a bye week, losing 20-18 in double overtime to Wiggins in the opener, then beating Fort Morgan 20-17 two weeks ago.
The NCC went 4-2 last Friday, but it was the Yuma County teams that did not hold up their end of the bargain. Besides Yuma’s loss, Wray suffered a 54-22 loss to a very good Scott City, Kansas, team that also rolled the Eagles last season (but it did little to stop them from reaching the 1A championship game).
Limon got the better of Strasburg, 49-21, Holyoke rolled past Colby, Kansas, 43-7, Wiggins blew past Rocky Ford 55-8, and Burlington earned a 42-32 win over Goodland, Kansas.
The NCC mostly wraps up no-conference play this week as Wiggins hosts Platte Valley on Saturday, while on Friday Holyoke is at Hershey, Nebraska, Wray hosts Ellicott, and Burlington hosts Lamar. Limon has its bye this week, playing Buena Vista on September 23 while the rest of the conference has its bye week before NCC play begins.
Limon remains No. 1 in the Colorado Preps Select Media Football Poll in 1A, while Holyoke is No. 3, Wray No. 3, and Wiggins No. 5. Yuma fell out of the Top 10 after last Friday’s loss, as Banning Lewis made its debut this week at No. 10.
Yuma rolled past Banning Lewis 49-0 last season on a hot, windy Thursday night in Yuma. However, the Stallions had nearly all underclassmen last season, while Yuma was much more experienced. The Stallions still went 5-4 last season, though they missed the playoffs, and now are into their fourth year of varsity football.
They came ready to play Friday night, at least defensively. In fact, both defenses played well, but it was Yuma that never could get going despite favorable field position most of the game.
Yuma finished with 173 total yards, 95 rushing and 78 passing. The YFT averaged 2.4 yards per rush. Banning Lewis had 255 total yards, 230 of it on the ground. Chase Riehle punished Yuma for 131 rushing yards and one touchdown on 19 carries.
The teams were mired in a 0-0 tie when a Yuma mistake led to Banning Lewis drawing first blood.
That set up Ben Early throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass to Sam Bell. The extra-point kick was good and Banning Lewis led 7-0 at halftime.
The second half reverted to a defensive struggle. Most of the action took place on Banning Lewis’ side of the field, but Yuma could never sustain any kind of drive.
It appeared Yuma might break through and escape with a win when Jonathon Thomson completed a 20-yard pass to Hugo Montes to the Stallions’ 30-yard line with around 5 minutes left. However, the YFT could not gain any more yards and turned the ball over on downs.
Banning Lewis then made its statement drive against a weary Yuma defense. The Stallions marched downfield behind its power running game, capping the drive with Riehle’s 11-yard TD run. The extra-point was good, and Banning Lewis led 14-0 with about 2 minutes left.
Yuma was led on the ground with Thomson’s 54 yards on 16 carries, while Silas Baucke had 45 on 17 carries, and Marvin Duarte three yards.
With the running game stymied, the YFT was forced to go to the air more than usual. Thomson completed seven of 13 passes for 78 yards, an average of 11.1 yards per completion, but it was never enough to break into the end zone. Brody Sheffield had three catches or 27 yards, Montes one for 22, Damien Koskinski one fo r21, and Trey Stegman one for eight yards.
Defensively, Stegman and Reyli Trejo each had one fumble recovery. Stegman was in on nine total tackles, Adrian Carranza eight, Trejo eight, Thomson five, Montes four, Carson Lynch four, Sheffield three, Duarte three, Kosinski two, and Christian Munoz, Aidan Chadwick and Giovanny Segura one each.