Most Viewed Stories
Criminals spoil Hawks Homecoming
Baker rushes for 173 yards and 3 TDs
It takes most running backs four quarters to rush for 100 yards. Yuma High's JC Baker did it with four carries against Gila Ridge.
Baker finished the region game with 174 yards on 10 carries with 108 yards coming on his first four touches. He finished the game with three touchdowns for the Criminals in their 61-28 win over the Hawks. Yuma High's 61 points was the most by a Gila Valley Region team this season.
"The O-line basically did a great job of pursuing their blocks and that opened up a lot of cutback lanes," Baker said. "I just hit the holes hard and did what I could."
Baker scored on touchdowns of 63 and 16 yards on the ground and from 49-yards on a pass from Donte Jackson. All of Baker's scores came in the first quarter.
"You come to expect that out of JC," Yuma High coach Tom Fox said. "As good as JC was tonight, Donte managing the game and making the calls, he made some audibles that really separated us in this game."
Jackson's pass to Travon Clark from 47 yards out was the Criminals' second score of the game. Jackson was 8-of-11 in the game for 218 yards with four touchdowns passing and a scoring run from 18 yards out.
The Hawks (1-5, 0-1 region) kept their pace with the Criminals (4-3, 2-0) through the game, but several missed opportunities kept them out of the end zone. Gila Ridge quarterback Mike Pancrazi was 9-of-20 for 97 yards, but six of his incompletions found his receiver's hands before falling to the ground.
Most notably was a pass to L'Jey Younger with 10:35 remaining in the fourth quarter. Pancrazi threw a strike to Younger in a one-on-one matchup with Yuma's Andrew Herrarte, but Younger couldn't keep a foot in bounds and the ball popped out of his hands as he hit the ground.
A drive earlier Herrarte picked off a Pancrazi pass to Younger. Baker, who also plays linebacker, managed to get a hand on the ball and Herrarte returned the ball 12 yards.
"It was a big momentum changer, JC tipped it perfectly and I was happy to be there. So when I caught it, it was right in my hands," Herrarte said. "It seemed like the game was pretty much done from there."
The interception, mixed in with the dropped passes, spelled disaster for the Hawks' offense.
"We had some opportunities but dropped some passes," Gila Ridge coach Jay Denton said. "If you don’t score with them, the results will be what they were tonight."
Yuma High made it difficult for Gila Ridge to keep up. Yuma High's Anthony Jackson returned the second half kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. In the final two quarters each of the Criminals' scoring drives took four plays or less.
The Hawks were finally able to find the end zone consistently in the second half with Younger picking up three touchdowns, two from passes of 11 and 24 yards out. Younger also returned a kick off in the fourth quarter 83 yards for a score. The kick off failed to bring the game within reach with the Hawks trailing 61-21.