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Thompson has second straight 250-yard game against GVR foe as Raiders roll Criminals
In the never-ending battle between high-powered offenses and shutdown defenses, chalk one up for the defense.
Cibola stopped the potent Yuma offense on two drives in the red zone, preserving a one-touchdown lead and allowing the Raider offense to rumble to a 42-20 win at Doan Field.
Raider running back Roy Thompson ran for 291 yards and three touchdowns in the victory, the second straight for the Raiders to open play in the 5A Gila Valley Region. Cibola (3-4, 2-2 region) knocked off defending champ Kofa before topping the previously undefeated-in-region Criminals (4-4, 2-1).
"It feels tremendous. We just went out there and handled business," Thompson said. "Just looking forward to winning region now. That's all I got to say."
Cibola led 21-14 at half, but the Criminals scored on a fourth-and-three from their own 39 when JC Baker broke off his biggest run of the night for the score. The two-point conversion failed, and on the first play of the next drive Thompson ran a sweep to the right - the play that worked all night for the Raiders - and went 74 yards for a 28-20 lead, thanks in part to missed tackles by the Criminals - something that plagued Yuma High on most of Thompson's big runs.
"We hit him in the backfield and we didn't tackle him," Yuma High coach Tom Fox said. "We're just not a very strong team. How do you get that? You get that in the weight room. They're more dedicated in the weight room than we are."
Yuma High took over at its 39, and after a long drive got to the Cibola 14. Facing fourth-and-six at the 10, quarterback Donte Jackson was sacked.
The Criminals caught a break on a third-and-one on the next Cibola drive when Thompson lost a fumble for the second time in the game. But they couldn't get a first down, failing to convert on a Baker run on fourth-and-three from the Raider 16.
"They're real explosive offensively, can score in the blink of an eye," Cibola coach Lucky Arvizo said, "and our defense did come up big when it needed to."
Cibola embarked on a nine-play scoring drive, capped by a quarterback sneak from Dylan Arviso, to go up 35-20.
After Jackson fumbled the snap on fourth-and eight at the Yuma 33, Cibola went 28 yards in four plays, capped by a 4-yard run from Blake Brazeel - who finished with 120 yards on six carries. The Criminals mishandled snaps or fumbled on three fourth-down attempts in the game.
"It looked like they rolled back there," Fox said. "That's not how we draw it up. It wasn't working."
Thompson struggled in the first quarter, netting only nine yards. But Brazeel had a 64-yard run that set Thompson up for his first score of the night from a yard out and a 7-0 lead. Kofa took its first lead on the first drive of the second quarter. After managing just 10 total yards in the first quarter, they opened the second converting a third-and-seven and eventual scored on a 10-yard run from Travon Clark. A two-point conversion and Kofa led 8-7.
Cibola needed three plays to answer when Greg Clark caught a 70-yard pass from Arviso on third-and-eight. After Yuma fumbled on fourth down at the end of a eight-play drive, Cibola scored on its third play, a 51-yard run by Thompson.
"Mental errors, that's what it was," Fox said. "We didn't block, we didn't tackle and we're not very strong. That team is in the weight room and we're not. That's the difference."
Arviso threw for 173 yards, all in the first half. He only attempted one pass in the second half. The Raiders had 590 yards of total offense, 173 on the ground. The Criminals had 315 total yards in the game, with 100 coming from Baker on the ground. He also had six catches for 30 yards.
Cibola travels to Havasu next week while the Criminals host San Luis.