|Written by Brian Bergner|
|Thursday, 03 November 2011 00:00|
For the first time in school history, the Cowboys were able to celebrate on the field after a matchup with cross-valley rival Mingus Union High School, claiming a 41-31 victory.
To the chagrin of all Marauders fans wearing red Friday, Oct. 28, Camp Verde High School football Head Coach Luke Steege and his boys tore their hearts out, sending them home with a loss that wasn’t expected.
When asked if he thought this was the biggest win for Camp Verde during his tenure, Steege had no problem answering yes.
“You would have to say this is the biggest win for us at Camp Verde,” Steege said just seconds before getting doused with Gatorade by his team on the field after the game ended. “We played so well; this was definitely a big win.”
In front of one of the biggest crowds to attend a football game in Camp Verde, it was the first time in 23 years these two football programs had met, with Mingus winning the first seven contests by more than three touchdowns each.
The 2011 version of the Camp Verde football team, which improved to 8-2 overall after Friday’s win, had no intentions of letting that happen this time around.
Camp Verde took a 14-0 lead after touchdowns by senior stars Chris Zellner and Kody Rayburn. Zellner’s touchdown came on Camp Verde’s second possession, after he caught a pass from quarterback Deshon Tripp and outran Mingus defenders 45 yards for the score.
Tripp was 11 for 15 for 149 yards and three touchdowns, most of which came after reinjuring his leg in the second quarter. Tripp sat out only one defensive possession, but returned to the game and undoubtedly gave his team a lift.
In Camp Verde’s third possession, Rayburn added to the 7-0 lead with a big run of his own to make it 14-0.
Mingus came back to tie it up 14-14 before the end of the first quarter, and took a 17-14 lead in the second before Camp Verde made it 21-17 heading in to the locker room at halftime.
The two teams would score a touchdown each in the third quarter, making it 28-24 Camp Verde before the final period.
With 9:38 to go in the game, Rayburn ran 72 yards for a touchdown to make it 35-24 and it seemed Mingus was done.
Rayburn recorded his third touchdown of the night with 7:01 to go to seal the deal. Rayburn had 19 carries for 207 yards and three touchdowns in the 41-31 win.
“I think this win just shows that we are ready for the playoffs. We have a great shot, and it all starts next week,” Steege said.
The No. 4 seeded Cowboys begin their quest for a Division V state championship Friday, Nov. 4, when they host No. 13 seeded Phoenix Christian High School.
Phoenix Christian finished 7-3 overall this season, but lost to Scottsdale Christian High School on Oct. 14, 49-0. Camp Verde beat Scottsdale Christian to open the 2011 schedule, 38-14.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.