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Yuma offense sputters again
Baker's 80-yard TD run only bright spot for Criminals
Yuma High running back J.C. Baker caught a short pass and using two downfield blocks broke off an 80-yard fourth-quarter score, bringing the Criminals to within one touchdown of a homecoming win.
But the defense, tough all game, gave up a four-play, 72-yard scoring drive to put Mountain Ridge back up by a comfortable margin, and the Crims couldn't score again in a 27-6 non-region loss to Glendale-Mountain Ridge on Friday.
"It's the same old song and dance," Yuma coach Tom Fox said. "You hate saying it over and over, but it's true. The guys are getting close. J.C. was close again. A move here or a move there and we're back in the game."
The Mountain Lions (5-1) struggled all game against the defense of the Criminals (2-5), managing just two touchdowns and 154 total yards through the first three quarters.
But Yuma's offense struggled more against Mountain Ridge, despite having a second quarter full of opportunities. The Criminals' average starting field position was the Mountain Ridge 39-yard line and they had three drives start in Mountain Lion territory.
But Criminals quarterback Andrew Herrarte threw a pair of picks and one possession was backed up more than 20 yards because of penalties and a sack.
The fourth Yuma drive of the quarter got as far as the Mountain Ridge 6, but passes on both third and fourth down went incomplete in tight coverage in the end zone.
"Anytime you got points on the field, you're in the red zone, and you don't capitalize on them, yeah, that hurts," Fox said. "We've got to remedy that. We've got to find a way to move the ball."
Yuma High had trouble moving the ball again until the fourth, when Baker broke off the 80-yard reception with the help of Louis Aguilar and Eric Rivas, who each made big downfield blocks. A two-point conversion failed but Yuma still trailed just 14-8.
But on the first play of the ensuing Mountain Lions' drive, quarterback Kevin Yost - who had rushed for negative-9 yards through three quarters - scrambled for 33 yards. Two plays later, he went 14 for a touchdown and a 20-6 lead.
On the next drive, Aguilar, throwing off a reverse option, found Oscar Marin for a 21-yard gain on third down to set the Criminals up on the Mountain Ridge 25, but the drive stalled.
The Mountain Lions followed with a time-consuming drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by Brett Hager, who had a game-high 139 yards rushing.
"The defense has been phenomenal," Fox said. "I could name eight to 10 guys who played the game of their high school career. It just wasn't enough for us. We tried to overcome but couldn't."
Notes: Yuma High outgained Mountain Ridge 344-314. ... Baker finished with 80 yards on 16 carries and four receptions for 87 yards, plus three kickoff returns of more than 20 yards. ... Yuma's Jesse Valencia had a second-quarter interceptions. ... Herrarte finished 15-for-30 with 193 yards, a touchdown, and three interceptions.
Edward Carifio can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6882.