SIERRA VISTA — For the first time in over a year, Buena hosted a high school football game Friday.
The outcome was not what the hometown crowd wanted as the Vail Cienega Bobcats beat Buena 34-7 at Loveless Stadium. The loss puts Buena at 1-1.
“I blame myself for the loss and I need to re-evaluate myself and the offense,” Buena head coach Joe Thomas said.
Buena and Cienega fans packed the stands for the Colts’ first home game since a 54-0 win over Sunnyside on Nov. 1, 2019.
Both teams traded punts early until Cienega took a 7-0 lead.
The Colts moved the ball during the second quarter but penalties and turnovers stifled any progress.
“The first drive we turned it over but the defense held firm and got us the ball back,” Thomas stated. “They were flying around and making plays but unfortunately they were on the field a lot.”
Another Bobcats touchdown before the quarter ended gave Cienega a 14-0 halftime lead.
The Bobcats had a punt return for a touchdown to end the half negated by a blocking in the back penalty.
The visiting Bobcats extended their lead to 21-0 in the third quarter before the Colts’ offense came to life.
After driving into the red zone, senior receiver Rashaud Armstrong took an end around into the end zone, cutting Cienega’s lead to 21-7.
Buena attempted a pooch kick after scoring but the ball sailed out of bounds.
Cienega fumbled on the ensuing handoff, giving the Colts new life.
The Colts drove into the red zone but a backbreaking interception was returned for a touchdown and the Bobcats led 28-7. A Buena punt on the next drive which was returned for a Cienega touchdown for the final score.
Though the Colts came up short, the season is still young.
Thomas singled out multiple members of the defense on Friday.
“Senior William Stemler does a lot for us on both sides of the ball and I am happy that he is a player for Buena,” Thomas said. “He plays linebacker, quarterback, running back and tight end so sometimes it is tough finding him a water break.”
The Colts’ experienced defense battled all night.
“Senior cornerback Jaylen McCall earned a starting spot at cornerback this week and made some plays tonight,” Thomas stated. “He is a little guy at 5-foot-7 but Jaylen was impressive.”
Thomas also singled out senior linebacker Rhubin Harris.
“He had five tackles last night and has been a great leader from his outside linebacker position.”
The last time these teams faced off in 2019, Cienega won 26-19.
Next up for the Colts is a bye week.
“We are going to pick back up on conditioning and other things like that during the bye,” Thomas said.
Following the bye week, Buena travels to Tucson to take on Sunnyside High on Friday, Sept. 24.