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Clark, Criminals run over Sidewinders
JC Baker sent to sideline early in rout
Travon Clark may not have the same last name as his older brother, but he has all the same moves as J.C. Baker.
Clark rushed for 97 yards and scored on runs from 7 and 21 yards while his half brother, Baker, spent most the game on the sideline in the Criminals' 55-0 win over the Sidewinders.
Baker returned the opening kickoff 82 yards for a score and carried the ball three times for 24 yards before being pulled by Yuma High coach Tim Fox six minutes into the game.
"(Baker) has been nursing a little bit of a nagging ankle problem, so we got him out of there," Fox said. "He touched the ball a couple times. But we’re fortunate we got Travon, he can get a lot of carries."
Baker said that Fox discussed the plan to pull him early, but he had expected to be in game longer for the Criminals (2-3).
"I thought I was going to get a quarter because coach told me I’d at least get a quarter," Baker said. "I got six minutes so I just enjoyed the six minutes I got."
The decision for the early exit was largely due to Baker's last run, in which a defender for San Luis (0-4) threw him to the ground and his back bent in an awkward position.
"He took a big hit and at that point in time, I just figured let’s see what Travon can do," Fox said. "I kind of decided that I was going to turn the game over to him at that point."
After Yuma High defensive lineman Peter Franks recovered a fumble at San Luis' 38-yard line, Clark ran the ball three times, amassing 9 total yards. One play later a triple option, he faked to Clark and handed off to Kyler Dorries and broke for 25 yards to give the Criminals a 42-point lead. Dorries finished the game with 56 yards on three carries.
Three plays later San Luis quarterback David Contreras threw an interception to Yuma's Anthony Jackson, which was returned to the 7-yard line. As time expired in the half, Clark rushed the ball in to the end zone to pad the Criminals' lead.
Fox explained that the call to run the ball with time winding down was not intended to run up the score.
"The clock was stopped, so we got to run a play whether we kneel down or whether we run it," Fox said. "I would give a lot to go back and have one more play and those kids that are in there for that play, if they are on defense they got a chance to hit and tackle, if they’re on offense they’ve got a chance to hit and block. It serves no purpose to take a knee right there when those kids get to line up and have a football play."
In the second half, the Criminals had only two possessions, of which they ran 11 plays. Three of those plays went to Clark as he amassed 45 yards with quarterback Donte Jackson and receiver Andrew Herrarte sitting on the sideline.
The Sidewinders had possession at the start of the fourth quarter and went on a 70-yard, 15-play drive down to Yuma's 5-yard line. But after six plays in the red zone, San Luis came up empty handed.
"I got to give credit to Yuma," San Luis coach Fernando Solano said. "They got lower than us and they just drove us back."
After getting the ball to the Yuma 20-yard line in the fourth quarter, San Luis' Daniel Slusher got only two carries after leading the Sidewinders' rushing attack. He finished the game with 10 carries for 66 yards.
"They were keying on (Slusher), they were looking for him every time they saw him in the backfield so I had to mix it up a little bit," Solano said. On the Sidewinders' last four plays they had minus 4 yards of offense. San Luis finished the game with 148 yards of total offense.
Despite his early exit Baker said he was happy for his brother's performance.
"I’m one of the few people in the city that knows how great of a back he is," Baker said. "He hasn’t got as many touches as he wanted but I believe he’s the third best running back in the region by far. I think it’s me, then Timmy Lee, than my little brother."
Baker said that the atmosphere at home may be different this week after Clark's performance, but that it doesn't bother him.
"It’s going to be a little different," Baker said "I’ll just suck it up and let my little brother take all the shine. I’ll be alright."