If Friday night's football scrimmages taught us anything, it's this: our local high school teams could be putting up big numbers this season.
Mingus Union, Camp Verde and Sedona Red Rock all enjoyed offensive success in its preseason duels.
The Marauders' first-team unit scored several long-yardage touchdowns during an intrasquad game. Camp Verde recorded three TDs at Winslow — improving upon last year's scrimmage when they didn't find the end zone at all. Red Rock scored by air and on the ground against Tuba City's Greyhills Academy.
"We showed the big-played capability," said Mingus coach Bob Young.
The flip side, though, is that opponents could have similar big-play potential once regular season games begin. Only Sedona's defensive unit managed to truly stymie its offensive opponent, holding the 3A Knights out of the end zone on the first couple series involving the starters.
Winslow scored five teams on Camp Verde. Young put Mingus Union's first team defense against the Marauders' first team offensive line, and they bent on several occasions.
"We're still not there defensively," Young said of his troops. "We're still learning. A lot of times, (players) are trying to read and then run. They're a step slow. You've got to read on the run."
Here are other highlights from Friday night action:
TRUJILLO TIME: Eddie Trujillo cemented his spot as the Marauders' lead running back. The senior scampered for one long TD and several other nice gains before tweaking his ankle. Young said Trujillo will sit out today's (Wednesday's) scrimmage against Cactus as a precaution.
WELLY DOES WELL: Mingus senior Aaron Welly appears ready to take over as the number one QB. He rushed for a touchdown and proved elusive on several other keepers.
Young will work this week on further developing the Marauders' air attack.
"We're not going to be a big passing team, but we've got to be able to throw the ball," Young said. "Otherwise teams will stack nine and 10 on the line of scrimmage. We're going to run, run, run and then throw deep on people."
UNSUNG: Young praised the play of the Marauders' first-team offensive line. Luke Shillington, Mike Ferguson, Morgan Scott, Steve Kelling and John Mattison helped carve some nice holes for the runners. All five of those players are underclassmen.
"I didn't see a lot of breakdowns when we looked at the film," Young said.
EARLY JITTERS: Like Carolina's football team against Oklahoma, Camp Verde struggled early, throwing two interceptions in its first 10-play series. But also like the Tar Heels, the Cowboys settled down and played better as the scrimmage progressed.
"We held our own with them," Steege said. "We threw the ball pretty effectively after the first 10 plays. They felt a little more comfortable."
ARMSTRONG HAS STRONG ARM: Chase Armstrong locked up the number one QB job at Camp Verde. The junior completed six passes for 77 yards, including two for touchdowns.
"He's really good at running the option as well," said Cowboy coach Luke Steege. "He's going to start Friday night."
WATCH THIS SOPHOMORE: Charlie Baca could be a secret weapon for the Cowboys on both sides of the ball. One of the stars on last year's undefeated Camp Verde junior varsity team caught a touchdown pass Friday night.
"He's going to be real important to us," Steege said.
UNDER WRAPS: Camp Verde's "double wing" offense may line up in as many as eight formations during a game. Plays can go left or right, leaving defenses guessing as to who the featured running back will be on each down.
Steege only showed a couple formations Friday night just in case a few scouts from other schools were lurking in the stands.
BIG MAC: Camp Verde junior David McDonald picked up where he left off last season before his injury – scoring two touchdowns. McDonald scored a pair of TDs against both Mayer and Sedona in 2000 before a leg injury in game three cut his year short.
BRIGHT SPOT ON DEFENSE: The Cowboy stoppers did surrender a couple big plays but made a nice stand on one series. Winslow had four plays from the Camp Verde 5-yard line but couldn't punch it in.
Matt Curtis caused a fumble on another series, which Brandon Ream recovered. Ream, a senior, also chased down a scrambling quarterback for a 22-yard loss.
"We showed signs of being a good defensive team," Steege said.
BOMBS AWAY: On Sedona's first offensive play against Greyhills, Johnny Cunningham connected with Tyson Liebe on a 60-yard pass play. Cunningham later hit Fritz Nugent for a 60-yard touchdown pass.
SPEED KILLS: Look for Red Rock's Shawn Koupal and Brian Sanders to pace Red Rock when they run the ball. Koupal enjoyed a 45-yard dash on one play. Sanders also had some nice gains. Cunningham, a speedy QB, can keep the ball if defenses key too much on the other backs.
HERE COMES CACTI HIGH: The Mingus scrimmage against Cactus High will start at 5 p.m. today. Admission is free, and food and refreshments will be available for purchase.
NICE TOUCH: Mingus football players showed their support of the school's volleyball program Friday afternoon. Before dressing out for their Red-Gray scrimmage, the gridders spent about half an hour watching the Marauder spikers scrimmage North Canyon.
WHAT TIME IS IT? Game time if you're Camp Verde and Sedona Red Rock. The Cowboys open the regular season Friday night against visiting Mayer. The Scorpions start Friday at home against Williams. Kickoff for both contests is 7 p.m.