After weeks of taking out their aggression on teammates, crosstown neighbors Yuma Catholic and Yuma High were able to face off in a preseason scrimmage on Thursday night.
The teams traded possessions in a controlled scrimmage at Ricky Gwynn Stadium, each coming in with some surprises, for better or worse. Each team also left the gridiron feeling like it had at least taken a step forward, too.
“I think both teams are happy to hit somebody else at this point,” YC coach Rhett Stallworth said. “It’s been a long summer and they were just ready to hit somebody that’s not in the same jersey and see what it’s about.”
Even after 2018 seasons that couldn’t have been much different (Criminals were 3-7, Shamrocks went 11-3 while being the 3A runner-ups), the Yuma High front seven made the scrimmage a bit choppy at first. The Criminals forced an early interception off of YC’s Gage Reese, and at least kept the usually high-powered offense in check. The Criminals would score two defensive touchdowns on the day, too.
“I just told the kids that we’re scrimmaging Rhett Stallworth’s Yuma Catholic Shamrocks. They are well-prepared,” Yuma High coach Curt Weber said. “They are a good football team. We’re not scrimmaging the weak sisters of the poor. We know that we were going to get a well-organized and big effort out of them. To hang in there to any degree at all, is really a pretty good feather in their cap.”
Meanwhile, Yuma High was able to move the ball a little bit early with the help of junior quarterback Jacob Straub, who was able to make a few plays on some bootlegs.
“Jacob has a good football mind, but he’s just inexperienced,” Weber said. “I think today went a long way into giving him some experience. He got his jersey a little bit dirty today.”
The first shifts for each team were somewhat uneventful, but eventually the Shamrocks and their endless amount of weapons on the edge took over. Reese was able to find senior Rakai Malone on a deep go-route, while running backs senior Ean Chavez and senior Jamar McFarlane were able to do damage in space.
McFarlane, who will miss the first half of the season after transferring from Kofa, had the ability to break loose for the length of the field each time he touched the ball. His big plays were likely familiar for the Criminals, who saw him rush for 175 yards in a game last season when McFarlane played for the Kings.
“You can tell by what both of them (McFarlane and Chavez) did tonight,” Stallworth said. “They are going to put some pressure on people. We still have a long way to go and we need to get a lot better, but there is a possibility that they could put up some big time points on people.”
Yuma High will open the season next Friday at Central (CA), which went 12-1 last season. YC will open on the same evening at San Manuel (4-6 in 2018).