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Turnover costly for Yuma High in loss to Alhambra
They could have been up six. Instead they were down 10.
It proved to be a costly swing for the players on the Yuma High football team.
An interception with less than five minutes to go in the first half in the red zone changed the momentum of the Criminals' homecoming game, a 48-22 loss to Alhambra on Friday at Doan Field.
Down 16-14, the Criminals (2-6) mounted a drive — including converting a third-and-13 — to get to the Lions' 7-yard line. But a personal foul knocked the Crims back to the 19, and then Jeremy Conde threw his first and only interception of the game with 4:15 left.
It took 11 plays and almost all of the time left in the half, but the Lions (5-3) added their third touchdown of the first half to take a 24-14 lead into the break.
“We've got the ball on the 7, getting ready to go, we have a 15-yard unsportsmanlike — they had like nine, but we had one and ours cost us,” Yuma High coach Tom Fox said. “Then we throw a pick on the next play and we're going into halftime down 10 instead of possibly up four to six. So that's obviously what cost us.”
The Lions added scores on their first two possessions of the second half to go up 36-14. Early in the fourth, Conde found Samuel Clark on a short slant that left the Alhambra defense flat-footed. Clark got into the end zone untouched, making the score 36-22, but three plays later Alhambra scored again to put an end to any Yuma High comeback.
“Execution was getting better on offense,” Fox said. “We still had some silly mistakes, but definitely getting better. I told the kids yeah, it sucks to look at the scoreboard, but we have two extremely winnable ball games coming up.”
Alhambra had little interest in throwing the ball, accumulating 258 first-half yards without attempting a pass. They finished with 465 total yards, 409 on the ground; Jermaine Shannon led the way with 130 yards and two scores.
Arturo Vargas had his second 100-yard game in three weeks, amassing 164 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Yuma High had 279 rushing yards and 41 through the air for the game. Marcus Ramos had 62 yards on nine carries for Yuma High.
Yuma High scored first, but Alhambra answered right back for an 8-6 lead. With 4:01 left in the first, the Criminals went up 14-8 on a 1-yard sneak by Conde.
Despite the loss, Fox said he was optimistic that the Criminals can finish the year on a two-game winning streak. The team travels to Lake Havasu next week before closing the season at home against rival Kofa.
“We're coming together. You're going to see a much-improved team the last two weeks of the season. I fully expect without a doubt in my mind to finish the season 4-6. Not a doubt in my mind whatsoever.”
Should that prediction come true, it would be the Criminals' highest win total since a 6-5 campaign in 2009.
“This is an exciting 14 days coming up,” Fox said. “Road trip to Havasu, home against Kofa. How does that not get the juices going if you're a senior — your last road trip and your last game against Kofa. Your heart should be beating out of your chest right now.”
Find Edward Carifio on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EdwardCarifio. He can also be reached at 539-6882 or email@example.com