Yuma runs past Hotchkiss in 1A quarters
HOTCHKISS — The Hotchkiss High School Bulldogs had the state’s leading rusher, but Yuma had one of the state’s leading rushing teams.
Hotchkiss senior Ethan Coe rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns Saturday afternoon, but it wasn’t enough.
The Indians (10-1) rushed for 474 yards and five touchdowns to defeat Hotchkiss 34-20 in the Class 1A state quarterfinals at Hotchkiss High School.
“Hotchkiss is a good team,” Yuma coach Keith Gille said. “Coach (Zac) Lemon has done a great job. That Coe is a good player. They are really quick. (Michael Beard) is as good we’ve seen all year.
“That’s what we want to do. When you’re playing Wray, Akron, Holyoke and Wiggins (in the North Central Conference), it’s a knock-down, drag-out fight.”
Yuma juniors Joel Rhoades and Mitch Wills combined to run for 395 yards on 51 carries. Rhoades had 25 rushes for 228 yards and one touchdown. Wills had 26 carries for 167 yards and two touchdowns.
“Their system beat us,” Lemon said. “They were very physical. They would get four yards every time and that’s enough to beat you.
“We knew they would be physical. We put our speed up against their size, but it wasn’t enough.”
Hotchkiss (9-2) used its speed to build a 7-0 lead.
Coe capped a 15-play drive with a 9-yard touchdown run that ate up 6 minutes, 14 seconds.
Yuma responded with a 14-play, five-minute drive that finished with an 8-yard touchdown run by Wills.
Hotchkiss regained the lead on a 55-yard run by Coe with 6:42 left in the second quarter, but the Bulldogs’ 2-point conversion pass fell incomplete.
The lead didn’t last long.
On Yuma’s first play from scrimmage, Rhoades broke through for a 75-yard touchdown to tie the game and Cesar Trejo’s point-after kick made it 14-13.
The Indians took a 20-13 lead on their next possession when Zach Diaz scored on a 6-yard run with four minutes left.
Yuma had another chance to score before half, but Hotchkiss forced the Indians to attempt a 29-yard field goal, which was wide left.
The Bulldogs opened the second half with a promising drive. Coe busted loose for a 33-yard run, but was stripped of the ball deep in Yuma territory.
The Indians recovered and marched down the field to score for a 27-13 lead.
It was the last game for seven Hotchkiss seniors, who led the Bulldogs to their first playoff win in 17 years last week.
“We had a great group of seniors,” Lemon said. “Everyone contributed and played an important role. We’ll look to the future, but it will be tough to replace them.”