Camp Verde High School’s football team lost 48-0 in its Central Region opener at Kingman Academy High School on Friday, Sept. 15.
The Cowboys [1-3, 0-1] held their own defensively throughout the first half, down 16-0 before a bad snap on a punt gave the Tigers [2-2, 1-0] the ball at the two yard line just before halftime.
“We played pretty good defense, we made them punt a few times, we held them to 16 points basically in the first half, and against that team that’s a pretty good haul,” head coach Jerry Rhoades said. “Then they put up two scores in the fourth quarter when we had the freshmen in.”
The team has been battling the injury bug, and played without junior running back and safety Dominiq Bruno and junior backup quarterback Kolby Hedges.
Senior starting quarterback Payton Sarkesian got injured again playing on defense.
Playing without Bruno affects the team’s running game. When he gets into open space in the flat and on the outside, it opens things up for senior Ryan Loza up the middle.
Not having that combination, and adding in players who are not as familiar with the intricacies of the offense, showed.
“We were fairly pleased with some things, but obviously drives stalling, not getting first downs, the quarterback getting hurt, that’s pretty frustrating,” Rhoades said.
When Sarkesian did throw the ball, a number of passes were dropped by the Cowboys receivers as well.
The defense was always bending, giving up 541 total yards of offense, 312 of which through the air. Nonetheless it was a bright spot for the shorthanded team.
“We played pretty good defense. We didn’t get beat deep like against Scottsdale Christian,” Rhoades said. “They went after us a couple of times. We gave up some big pass plays in the middle of the field .... but I would rather not be aggressive on the slant than let the guy run by you for a touchdown over your head.”
Despite giving up points, Rhoades is satisfied with the defensive play to date.
“We’ve got some kids that are making some plays. Obviously we can’t make every play. When you give up five or six plays for touchdowns, you don’t see the other 35 plays that we played that were pretty good,” Rhoades said.
Camp Verde continues region play at home against Tonopah Valley High School at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 22, which also possesses a strong offense. The Cowboys will look to get as healthy as possible.
“We can’t use that as an excuse. We just have to make do with what we have and put our best situation out on the field to be successful,” Rhoades said. “We just have to find out what that combination is and go with it.”