YUMA - The result was another lopsided loss for Yuma High Friday night in front of the home town fans.
No surprise considering the opponent — talented and strong run-oriented Mesa High. And after the 51-7 loss to the Jackrabbits, it only gets tougher for the Criminals (0-3) and first-year head coach Mike Chadwick.
Over the next two weeks, Yuma has 5A Division II heavyweight Tempe Marcos de Niza and 5A-I Chandler in consecutive games.
The Jackrabbits rolled up 514 yards of total offense, 382 coming on the ground behind the wing-T. Mesa runners accounted for five touchdowns.
Nebraska-bound Keelan Johnson led the way with 96 yards on seven carries and two trips into the end zone in a little more than a half of action. He took his third carry of the game 60 yards to paydirt and put the Jackrabbits up 27-0 with 2:32 left in the opening quarter.
Johnson added a 4-yarder midway through the second quarter for a 34-0 advantage. Mesa scored on TDs on its first six possessions and settled for a 22-yard field goal with no time remaining in the first half to go into the break up 44-7.
The Criminals had a tough time of it early in the 64th meeting between the schools, muffing the kick return after the Jackrabbits took a 7-0 lead.
Mesa upped its overall record to 55-7-2 against Yuma High.
Yuma’s only score came during a productive second quarter. Trailing 34-0, Yuma averted the shutout thanks to a 65-yard pitch and catch from senior quarterback Brock Jacobo to junior wideout Eric Rivas.
Jacobo completed 8-of-20 for 115 yards and an interception.
Rivas caught three passes for 84 yards. Running back Greg King led the Criminals’ ground attack with 20 yards on six carries.
Mesa senior signal caller Tony Gallegos lofted an 18-yard pass to Mauricio Town in corner of the endzone for a quick 14-0 lead after the Criminals turnover.
Gallegos had an efficient passing night, finishing the game completing 7-of-8 for 132 yards and a 29-touchdown scoring strike to Derek Kirk. Gallegos also ran for a score on one of his four carries for 70 yards.
Senior speedster Kyree Hart added 88 yards on six carries and two TDs for Mesa.
Vitals: Mesa High (2-1) beat host Yuma (0-3) 51-7 in a 5A nonregion game Friday.
Highlight: The Jackrabbits had 398 rushing yards on 40 carries and scored five touchdowns. Running back Keelan Johnson scored twice, and quarterback Tony Gallegos scored from 15 yards out.
Player of the game: Kyree Hart scored two touchdowns, from 2 and 19 yards out.
Key stat: Mesa High had 503 total yards compared to just 184 for the Criminals.