BUCKEYE – Yuma Catholic senior running back Kody Hazlett knew that undefeated Buckeye had to get by him and his team before it could call itself a great team.
“That’s exactly how we felt,” said the 5-foot-8, 165-pound Hazlett.
Buckeye may yet prove to be a great team, but its 37-24 loss to Yuma Catholic will certainly hurt its resume. After marching unchallenged through the first four weeks of the season, the seventh-ranked Division IV squad got quite the rude awakening from the reigning Division V champs.
In retrospect, Buckeye coach Bobby Barnes admitted his opening slate was easy but didn’t think there was a hangover effect Friday.
“That didn’t have anything to do with us losing tonight,” Barnes said. “Our kids knew that this was going to be physical. They get physical with each other.”
Hazlett was plenty physical himself.
The undersized back ran the ball 30 times for 237 yards and two scores and added a 41-yard touchdown reception on a swing pass from quarterback Jagan Cleary.
Hazlett wasn’t that much faster or stronger than anyone on the field. But he had better instincts.
“He has great vision of what alley to cut up, and he has great strength to move back on the weak arm whenever he cuts back under people,” Barnes said.
Said Yuma Catholic coach Rhett Stallworth: “He’s got a move, but he only makes one. It’s not like he’s trying to shake people off.”
Cleary was 13 of 19 for 162 yards and two scores through the air, one of them to Andrew Determan, who also returned the opening kick 86 yards for a score.
Buckeye running back Jabril Taylor ran 25 times for 166 yards and three scores, but lacked the passing threat to keep defenses honest.
Buckeye (4-1) gained 249 total yards, only 62 through the air. Yuma Catholic (4-1) tallied 404 yards of offense, including 242 on the ground (all but five yards from Hazlett).