Gila Ridge at Kofa poised to be an exciting rematch
All other local teams also play at home tonight
It’s a smorgasbord of football action tonight, as every local team is at home except Gila Ridge, which will still be in town playing at Kofa.
And while Brawley (Calif.) at Cibola and River Valley at Yuma Catholic have cases to be made, the Hawks-Kings showdown is the marquee matchup of the night.
Other games include: Southwest (Calif.) at Yuma High, San Tan Foothills at Antelope and Trivium Prep at San Pasqual.
7 p.m. tonight GAME OF THE NIGHT Kofa at Gila Ridge, 7 p.m.
After winning their season-openers on the road, the Kings (1-2 AIA) and Hawks (1-2 AIA) have scuttled in recent weeks.
They both played and lost to Central (Calif.), Kofa by 20 points on Aug. 25, and Gila Ridge by 12 a week later.
Last week, the running game of Southwest was too much to handle for Kofa in a 56-7 loss, and Gila Ridge fell to Cibola, 37-20.
But what makes this the game of the night — apart from it being an in-town matchup — is the way in which last year’s contest unfolded.
In what was arguably the most exciting game of the 2016 season, Kofa scored 36 points in the second half after going into halftime losing, 14-0, and ended up with a 36-20 win. It was the Kings’ first victory against
Gila Ridge since 2009, and running back David Castaneda had 247 total yards and three touchdowns.
You can bet Gila Ridge will want some revenge for that one, making this a fun rematch for these teams, both of which have plenty of returning players from last year.
REST OF THE SLATE River Valley at Yuma Catholic, 7 p.m.
This has been an awesome non-region matchup the past two years. The Shamrocks overcame a two-score deficit in 2015 and scored two late touchdowns to beat the Dust Devils, 33-28. In Mohave Valley last year, YC won, 19-14.
However, this one may not have the fireworks — or the close score — of those meetings. River Valley went a combined 18-5 and made the playoffs in 2015-16. This year, the Dust Devils are 0-3 with losses to Coolidge, Mohave and Lake Havasu, the latter two by a combined score of 80-0.
Yuma Catholic (2-1 AIA), meanwhile, is nearly unbeaten to start the season in three games against schools and teams that are much larger. The Shamrocks, in 3A, beat 4A team St. Mary’s and Imperial (Calif.), which blew out Cibola the week prior, before losing by one point to Seton Catholic of 4A last week in their home opener.
Yuma Catholic is outgaining River Valley in total yards by 216.5 so far this season.
Brawley (CA) at Cibola, 7 p.m.
The Wildcats have dominated in their time against Yuma teams, going 10-2 since 2012. However, those two losses were to Cibola in the past two seasons.
The Raiders (1-3 AIA) have struggled in the early part of the season, opening with losses to Horizon, Imperial and Southwest before beating Gila Ridge last week.
The win against the Hawks saw the breakout of junior wide receiver Gabriel Ramirez. Ramirez went off against Gila Ridge, totaling 240 yards and three touchdowns on nine receptions. He also forced and recovered a fumble and excelled on special teams as a kick and punt returner.
On the other end of those passes was junior quarterback Ethan Arvizo, who had his best game (10-for18, 254 yards, four touchdowns) of 2017 against Gila Ridge, as well.
If the Raiders are to make it two straight wins, they’ll need the Arvizo-Ramirez connection to be on again. Brawley beat Yuma High, 27-3, last week.
Southwest had only two winning seasons from 200414, but have turned things around the past two years, going 9-3 in 2015 and ’16. The local teams have seen the Eagles’ turnaround firsthand.
Since 2015, Southwest is 8-0 with six of those wins being by 24 or more points. This year, the Eagles steamrolled Kofa and Cibola by a combined score of 97-7.
The Criminals (2-1 AIA) have a tough task tonight, but their season has been off to a good start, as they already have as many wins as they had all of last year. They beat Parker and Calexico (Calif.) in their first two games before falling in Brawley last week.
WARNER: KOFA over Gila Ridge, YUMA CATHOLIC over River Valley, BRAWLEY over Cibola, SOUTHWEST over Yuma High, SAN TAN FOOTHILLS over Antelope, TRIVIUM PREP over San Pasqual
GRADY: BRAWLEY over Cibola, KOFA over Gila Ridge, SOUTHWEST over Yuma High, RIVER VALLEY over Yuma Catholic, ANTELOPE over San Tan Foothills, TRIVIUM PREP over San Pasqual
GILA RIDGE’S DAKOTTA YI COMES DOWN with a pass in front of Kofa defenders Angel Valtierra (left) and Isaiah Lopez (34) during the first quarter of a Sept. 16, 2016, game at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Gila Ridge at Kofa
Brawley (Calif.) at Cibola Southwest (CA) at Yuma High, 7 p.m.
Southwest (Calif.) at Yuma High