By Richard Bravo
Copper Basin News
The Ray High Bearcats opened the 2013 football season a week early due to a cancellation of games by ASDB and Bowie/San Simon. Athletic Director Rene Pacheco was able to schedule a game against the Blue Devils from Valley Union. Although the game was played earlier than anticipated the Bearcats traveled back from Elfrida with a 28-6 victory.
The Bearcats started the season with an experienced group of kids on both defense and offense. They returned 10 seniors and have a group of talented underclassmen that can fill the voids of players that have graduated.
The Blue Devils started the game by taking the opening kickoff. Starting from their own 20 yard line the tough Bearcat defense held them to minimal yardage forcing the Blue Devils to punt the ball away on their first possession. After a return of 15 yards by Dominic Bravo to the Blue Devil 43 yard line the Bearcats offense took the field. The Bearcats kept the ball on the ground. Running back Robin Newman and quarterback Destry Yocum moved the ball deep into Blue Devil territory. Yocum put the first points on the board keeping the ball on a keeper from 6 yards out for the score. The two-point attempt failed giving the Bearcats a 6-0 lead with 5:50 left in the opening quarter. The Bearcat defense came up big on the next Blue Devil possession as defensive end Ryan Bickley fell on a fumble forced by the Bearcat defense, giving them good field possession. The Bearcat offense stayed rolling as they moved the ball deep into Blue Devil territory but a fumble recovered by the Blue Devils stopped the drive as time expired in the first quarter.
The second quarter of play by the Bearcats consisted of turnovers and mental mistakes keeping the Bearcats from extending their lead. The lone score of the quarter came with 41 seconds left in the half when the Blue Devil quarterback hit his receiver on a slant route to tie the score up at 6 points each heading into the locker room.
Head coach Willie Jordan’s halftime speech must have sparked the Bearcats in the second half as the offense and defense stepped it up. The defense started it off by forcing a turnover as the Blue Devils were threatening to score. Defenseman lineman Jacob Pace recovered the fumble on the Bearcat 10 yard line. The Bearcats made quick work of the turnover as quarterback Yocum hit receiver Bravo on a screen pass and it was off to the races as he ran 90 yards for the score. The two-point attempt by running back Nick Lara gave the Bearcats a 14-6 lead with 4:29 left in the quarter. With another outstanding defensive stand by the Bearcats the Blue Devils were forced to punt on their second possession of the half. Starting from midfield the tandem of Yocum and Bravo struck again as Yocum hit Bravo on 50 yard touchdown pass on the first play to extend the lead. The two-point try failed giving the Bearcats a 20-6 lead at the end of three quarters of play.
The final quarter of play was all Bearcats. The defense held the Blue Devils to only 40 yards in the quarter as the offensive stayed hot. The Bearcats put a fork in the Blue Devils with 4:37 left in the game when Yocum connected with Bravo one more time on a 54 yard pass for their third touchdown of the game. The two-point attempt by Newman was good giving the Bearcats a 28-6 lead and victory.
The Bearcats were led offensively by Yocum who completed 10 passes for 246 yards and 4 touchdowns (3 passing, 1 rushing). Leading rusher for the game was Yocum who had 63 yards on 6 carries; Newman carried the ball 6 times for 25 yards. Leading the receivers was Bravo who made 5 catches for 212 yards with 3 touchdowns. Seth Harmon had 3 catches for 15 yards.
Defensively the Bearcats were solid allowing the Blue Devils just 175 yards of total offense. Leading the defense was Yocum with 8 solo tackles and 3 assists. Bravo with 6 tackles and 2 assist. Jeron Coleman with 5 tackles and 5 assist. Bickley and Rex Sosa with 6 tackles each.
The Bearcats will be off the next couple of weeks due to changes in the schedule. Athletic Director Rene Pacheco is working on scheduling a game between now and their next game. On the Sept. 13 the Bearcats will be hosting the Patagonia Lobos. For more information contact Ray High School or you can check out the Ray Bearcats on Facebook for updates. Please remember to come out and support your Ray High Athletes!