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On Bright Field, following his team’s intense and hard-fought win Friday, Oct. 2, over visiting Bradshaw Mountain High School, a visibly elated Bob Young exhaled, “A battle. A real battle.”

Mingus Union High School senior Tristan Clark turns upfield after clearing the edge defender with the help of a block by backfield mate senior Anthony Accurso. Clark ran the ball six times for 41 yards in the Marauders’ 20-15 win over visiting Bradshaw Mountain High School.
“They have some really good athletes,” he added, “All our hard work paid off.”

Mingus Union High School defeated the Bears, 20-15, in a game the Marauders appeared to control throughout but couldn’t pull away from the feisty visitors.

Both teams entered the sectional showdown with 3-1 records.

“It may have been great to watch from the stands, but not so great on the sidelines at the end,” Young said, smiling.

It was the kind of game where the leading scorer was a kicker, as MUHS junior Trey Meyer racked up eight points on two field goals and a pair of extra points.

His 29-yarder midway through the fourth quarter gave MUHS a 20-9 lead — enough of a cushion to weather the Bears’ 20-yard touchdown pass with three minutes left.

It was the Marauders’ defense that clinched the win with a clutch stand as time expired.

For the full story and standings, please see the Wednesday, Oct. 7, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

The gold boot is staying at Camp Verde High School for the second straight season.

Sophomore Payton Sarkesian fires the ball to a Camp Verde High School receiver in a win Friday, Oct. 2, against Chino Valley High School. The 26-12 victory was the Cowboys’ section opener.
Spoils of the annual victor of the Cowboys’ rivalry with Chino Valley High School, the boot was earned Friday, Oct. 2, by senior Dakota Brueland, whose 99-yard fumble return for touchdown with 6:15 remaining put the Cougars away, 26-12, in the teams’ Division V, Section III opener.

The fumble, forced by senior linebacker Jesse Etietinne, could not have come at a better time for CVHS. With first down and goal at the Cowboys’ 3-yard-line, Chino Valley was knocking on the door of a touchdown that would have drawn the Cougars within six midway through the fourth quarter.

“I told my linebackers, ‘We need the ball back. Get us the ball back,’” said Brueland, who also had an interception from his cornerback position, threw a 35-yard pass completion on offense and had two other touchdowns to go with 140 all-purpose yards on the night. “Sure enough, Jesse hit the guy, the ball just came out on the goal line, I picked it up, and I just put my head down and ran.”

No Cougar could close within five yards of Brueland, who had streaked 48 yards for a rushing touchdown five minutes earlier that gave the Cowboys a two-touchdown cushion.

For the full story and standings, please see the Wednesday, Oct. 7, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.

Sedona readers know that developing, maintaining and protecting their local biking, hiking and horse trails is important. But to Camp Verde and Cottonwood readers, U.S. Forest Service projects are coming soon to their local recreational trails as well.

George Werner

Adjacent to Cornville Road, for instance, horse trailer accommodations are planned for the development of a trailhead at a location known as the Yavapai County Asphalt Mixing Table.

Further east, just outside of Rimrock and south of Montezuma Well, six miles of trail loops are in the works. These Sunset Trails, as they are called in a decision notice authorized by Red Rock District Ranger Nicole Branton, “serve the local residents who identified the importance of this project” and could be in place as early as next year.

For the full column, please see the Wednesday, Oct. 7, issues of the Camp Verde Journal and Cottonwood Journal Extra.

The Mingus Union High School wrestling room needs an overhaul.

The decaying locker room for Mingus Union High School wrestlers needs the district’s bond to pass at election Tuesday, Nov. 3 in order for the building to be renovated and expanded. A large hole in the plaster, sagging fire suppression lines and an extension cord, strung through a low, collapsing ceiling to power electronic scales, are just some of the issues confronting coaches, students and other regular users of the 33-year-old facility.
Originally built in 1982, the 2,200-square foot facility suffers from, among other issues, loose wires, a sagging ceiling, no drinking fountain and a lack of central air conditioning. It is the only building on campus still ventilated solely by a swamp cooler.

“It doesn’t have air conditioning, and it needs it, especially when we’re in here practicing,” said MUHS English teacher Klint McKean. “In 2007, they switched all the buildings over to new units, and, for some reason, this building was left out.”

The building, which is also used — as it has been over the past 33 years — for aerobic workouts in such MUHS classes as body conditioning, weights and physical education, lost its drinking fountain after it stopped working in 2013, McKean said.

“The bathroom is inadequate [and] needs to be improved,” he said. “It works, [but] there’s not a drinking fountain in the building anymore.

“The heating and cooling need some serious work.”

Mold, the scent of which is immediately apparent upon entering the facility, also grows directly under the wrestling mats.

“So we need new floors,” McKean said. “We need to have space to put our mats down. Right now, we have to roll up two-and-a-half of our mats in big storage units behind the building and bring them in and out.

“A lot of the mats have been damaged in transport. They’ve been cut.”

According to McKean, an idea shared by Paul Tighe, district superintendent, would call for the renovation and expansion of the wrestling room to a two-level facility covering 7,500 square feet.

“It would give us more space, which we need when we’re running our offseason practices and we have our whole kindergarten-through-12th-grade group in here at once,” said McKean, whose Mingus Mountain Wrestling Club practices in the facility. “More than that, from what I’ve been told, the whole impetus of making this building bigger is to add classrooms to it.”

Under the plan, a ramp would connect at least four classrooms on the top level of the facility to a multipurpose ground floor, expanded on the slope north of Bright Field back to the MUHS auxiliary gym. There have been no cost estimates discussed for the proposal, McKean said, which would be contingent upon the passage of a district bond in election Tuesday, Nov. 3.

“This is not the reason for the bond,” said Anthony Lozano, district board member and MUHS wrestling coach from 1973 to 1987. “We have so much more to address. But this is within the idea.”

Voters need to register to vote by mail-in ballot by Monday, Oct. 5. Approval would mostly provide for more immediate capital upgrades for the district such as desks and buses.

In its 10-foot ceiling, just three vents, hooked up not to MUHS central air but only to a swamp cooler, ventilate the 2,200-square foot building, which could add another floor for classrooms and more than triple its size with the passage of the bond.

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, Sept. 30, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

In its final warmup for Division III, Section VIII rival Bradshaw Mountain High School, Mingus Union High School cruised over Moon Valley High School, 51-20.

Senior Anthony Accurso, in a burst of speed off a misdirection play, blazes 68 yards down the Mingus Union High School sideline early in the second quarter. The touchdown run gave the Marauders a 24-7 lead over Moon Valley High School early in the second quarter of a 51-20 Homecoming win. MUHS opens sectional play Friday, Oct. 2, at home against Bradshaw Mountain High School.
Following the Friday, Sept. 25, blowout, all head coach Bob Young did was refocus his deep arsenal of offensive weapons on the quick defense of the Bears, who will be the sectional opener for both teams Friday, Oct. 2, at MUHS.

“They’re a great team,” said senior slotback Tristan Clark, who caught four passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. “It’s definitely our biggest game of the year, coming up.

“We’re going to have to have better pass protection and pass a lot more than we did [Sept. 25].”

Senior Anthony Accurso ran for two touchdowns and caught another to go with an interception as the Marauders cruised to a 44-7 lead, emptying their bench less than halfway through the third quarter at Bright Field.

“We had a couple good weeks of practice,” Young said. “They had to move their best receiver to quarterback last week, so that changes the whole complexion of your offense in one week. That’s tough.”

Senior quarterback Jordan Upham, who threw for 165 yards and three touchdowns, also ran for 58 yards, spreading the wealth to eight other rushers who rolled up 259 more yards on the ground.

Accurso was the big-play rusher, averaging more than 20 yards per run on just five carries and starting the scoring for the Marauders at the 7:45 mark of the first quarter on a four-yard pitchout.

He was also a weapon in an expanded MUHS air attack that included junior tight end Trevor Galloway, who hauled in a touchdown pass less than 30 seconds later after junior Josh Scalf recovered the first of his two forced fumbles on the Rockets’ 15-yard-line.

For the full story and standings, please see the Wednesday, Sept. 30, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

Steve Darby, Camp Verde High School head football coach, is looking forward to returning home for the start of Division V, Section III play Friday, Oct. 2, at 7 p.m. against Chino Valley High School.

Coming off Homecoming, the Cowboys of Camp Verde High School got back to the practice field to prepare for Monument Valley High School — their final opponent prior to the start of sectional play. Sophomore Ryan Loza carries the ball and makes his way to the goal, as his team blocks for him. Loza, who had six catches for 154 yards to help win Homecoming on Sept. 18, was held to just two yards on offense as CVHS fell at Monument Valley, 37-6.
Going 1-4 in the Cowboys’ first five games can have that kind of effect.

“We just need to execute our plays better and protect the ball,” Darby said after eight turnovers led to a 37-6 loss Friday, Sept. 25, at Monument Valley High School. “You can’t turn the ball over that much and expect to win against anyone.”

Certainly not as athletic and well-coached a team as Monument Valley, one of just five undefeated teams in Division V, who averaged over 10 yards per play on offense against CVHS. Their previous encounter was a last-second, seven-on-seven semifinal win by the Cowboys, knocking them out of a tournament championship over the summer.

Senior Trevor Heyer had 62 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground late in the fourth quarter, but it merely averted the shutout, as by then MVHS had already put 30 unanswered points on the scoreboard.

“Monument Valley was more physical than us,” Darby said. “They beat us at the line all night and limited us on what we could do offensively.”

Running back Jaysen Leonard, 10 yards short of the section lead in rushing, continued to do his part, carrying the ball 11 times for 68 yards while also collecting 53 receiving yards.

Fellow senior Dakota Brueland was the leading receiver on the night for CVHS with two catches totaling 60 yards, as sophomore slotback Ryan Loza was virtually shut out offensively.

Most of the 68 other Cowboys net yards on the ground, however, were gained scrambling by sophomore quarterback Payton Sarkesian, who also lost two fumbles.

For the full story and standings, please see the Wednesday, Sept. 30, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.

Late to Weekend Wars was much better than never for rookie wrestler Zach Athey.

Zach Athey, 10, is one of the up-and-coming wrestlers for New Breed Wrestling. The Camp Verde Elementary School fifth-grader took first place in the last two Weekend Wars of the season.
Athey, starting his final year at Camp Verde Elementary School, has already won two Weekend Wars in a row at 122 pounds — although he weighed exactly 125.9 pounds going into his final tournament of the season
Sept. 19 for New Breed Wrestling Club.

“I’ll take new challenges,” Athey said during practice at the Sterrett Wrestling Complex. “I wanted to get good enough sparring.

“I’ve sparred with kids in Flagstaff who came down here to wrestle.”

But the fifth-grader, whose parents first brought him to Mario Chagolla Sr., his New Breed head coach, and are allowing him to continue to spar at Sterrett through the winter, is still looking for wrestlers his own size.

Sparring partners Caiden Wolfe and Hunter Zellner are a year to two years younger than Athey — and up to 45 pounds lighter.

Athey, in his Sept. 5 debut at Weekend Wars, pinned all five opponents he faced. He estimates that in his first month at Sterrett, he has pinned 10 to 20 opponents.

“He couldn’t believe that he was dominating,” Chagolla said. “He’s still immature, young in the muscles.

“What I like is that he’s fearless. Oh my gosh, he’s got speed.”

For the full story and final month's results from Weekend Wars, please see the Wednesday, Sept. 30, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.

Junior Luis Valdez continues to be the bright star for Camp Verde High School cross-country as the teams host the Camp Verde Invitational beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26.

Mike O’ Callaghan, left, head coach of the Camp Verde High School boys and girls cross-country teams, helps sophomore Ruby McFarland warm up for practice. Both teams will host 11 other schools Saturday, Sept. 26, at the Camp Verde Invitational beginning at 8:30 a.m.
The Cowboys will host 11 other teams, including cross-Verde Valley rival Sedona Red Rock High School and lifetime members Alhambra and Apache Junction high schools, at the invitational.

“They’re the two teams that have come every year,” said Mike O’Callaghan, head coach of the Cowboys cross-country teams. “Sedona, it will be their first time here. Coconino’s taking their top seven kids out to California, but the rest are coming here.

“We’re such a young team that we’re avoiding Flagstaff this year, but we’ve got a few meets where we know we’re going to have really tough competition.”

O’Callaghan starts the Camp Verde Invitational course at Sam Hammerstrom Field and runs a 5K up CV Hill across Apache Trail from the back of the CVHS campus.

“Why wouldn’t I?” O’Callaghan said. “It’s not going to change.

“Personally, I am not a golf course-type guy. I’ve always tried to make it from the school. If it’s cross-country, it’s cross-country where we’re at.”

Arizona State University, Anthem and Greyhills preparatory academies also join Coconino, St. Mary’s Catholic, Valley Christian, Wickenburg and Flagstaff Basis high schools at the invitational.

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