Yuma Criminals haven't had a winning season in over a decade and hope a strong senior class can help turn the tide
YUMA, Ariz. ( KYMA, KECY-TV ) - It's been a tough stretch for the Yuma Criminals football team. The high school is the oldest in Yuma with a deep and rich history. Wins have been hard to come by as of late as the Criminals haven't won more than three games in a season in over a decade.
"The biggest thing we’re working on this year is character to be better men off the field which translates to better men on the field," Third year head coach Bo Seibel said. "Seeing these guys respond to it is awesome and as a whole its making our offense and defense locked in and ready to go."
Last year the Criminals felt they had the talent, they just lacked the discipline.
"Last year we had high expectations, last year we believed we were better than we were, we had selfish behavior," Senior Joseph Bowan said. "This year we’re really focusing on character. This year I truly believe these guys have my back."
"I've been a little tougher on them this year," Seibel said. "The maturity is there. I feel like I have 17 captains out there at practice which is a great feeling to have and hopefully it carries over the the classroom as well."
During the offseason the Criminals were dropped from Class 4A to 3A, a move in which they feel puts them on a level playing field with the rest of their competition.
"We should be playing people our size now," Senior Andrew Ursulo said. "I mean if we put up a fight with those people [bigger schools], just think what we'll be able to do against 3A."
The Criminals nearly pulled out a week one victory at home versus Dysart, jumping out to an early 12-0 lead and heading into halftime up 18-7. The Criminals watched the win slip away in the fourth quarter and lost 21-18.
In week two at home, the Criminals were run over by the Mohave Thunderbirds 60-6.
Despite the early bumps to start the season, the Criminals remain focused.
"Our team strength is our senior class with 16 or 17 seniors and that’s something we haven’t had in a while," Coach Seibel said. "We have the depth, we have the maturity and leadership from our seniors."
This Friday the Criminals hit the road for the first time as they travel to Antelope. The Rams are currently in Class 2A and are coming off a 47-0 win at home over Mountainside last Friday night.