11/2/2010 11:02:00 AM Hopi Jr. High football makes history
Stan Bindell/NHO Hopi Junior High football team.
Stan Bindell The Observer
POLACCA, Ariz. - Hopi Junior High football team made history by making it to the Northern Arizona Interscholastic Championship game for the first time, but it was Chinle Junior High emerging with the 24-6 victory to claim the championship Oct. 28.
Both teams came in with 6-1 records.
Chinle Junior High Coach Rydell Toadacheene said he felt good about the Bobcats winning the championship.
"Our kids worked hard all season and they deserved it," he said.
Coach Toadacheene said all of his players played well in the championship game.
Hopi Junior High Coach Ferron Lomakema told his players that they accomplished something that none of their predecessors had done by making it to the championship game.
"Be proud of that," he said. "You played your hearts out. It's too bad you came out on the bottom side."
Coach Lomakema urged the eighth graders to stick together next year when they become freshman because they have the nucleus to help the Hopi High School football program. But he told them that keeping up their grades, practicing good behavior and citizenship will be necessary.
He also told them they need to play summer football to prepare for next season. He told the seventh graders that he looks forward to working with them next year.
Coach Lomakema said the Little Bruins played good defense against Chinle.
"Chinle thought they would roll over us, but we showed we could play with them," he said.
Hopi Junior High will receive a banner as the runner-up.
"I'm glad we came this far," he said. "The players learned a lot this year."
Coach Lomakema said he thanks the parents for supporting the team.
Chinle opened the scoring on a one yard plunge by Anthony Sepulveda. He is Hopi, but plays for Chinle since his mom works for Chinle School District. Dominic Wilson setup the score with a 30 yard run. A run failed to produce the conversion points, but Chinle led 6-0 with 51 seconds left in the opening period.
The Bobcats scored again on a 16 yard TD pass from Rahiem Bahe to Dexter James Jr. The pass failed on the conversion attempt, but Chinle led 12-0 with 2:01 remaining in the half.
Hopi struck back quickly as two plays later Gregory Yestewa broke free for a 55 yard TD run. A pass failed to produce the conversion points, but Hopi pulled within 12-6 with 1:27 left in the second period.
Neither team scored in the third quarter.
In the fourth period, following a fumble recovery, Jimacian Ramm scored on 24 yard TD run with 5:10 left in the game to give Chinle the 18-6 edge.
In the last minute, Chinle blocked a Hopi punt. On the next play, Ramm scored on a six yard TD run.