Sometimes, not even the exuberance of youth can overcome plain, old-fashioned experience.
And nothing can overcome numerous turnovers.
Such were the lessons learned by the young Cowboys of Camp Verde Friday in their 55-21 loss to the Parker Broncs.
"We're young and that's not an excuse," said Camp Verde coach Luke Steege. "We started five sophomores on offense and five sophomores on defense tonight."
Not hard to see why a Parker team whose top four scoring threats are all championship game savvy seniors dominated this game from 17 seconds into the contest until the start of the fourth quarter.
Camp Verde stunned Parker when David McDonald took the opening kickoff 95 yards up the middle for a game-opening score. Ryan Anderson's kick gave the Cowboys a 7-0 lead and left the Broncs wondering what had happened.
While Parker was replaying the first 17 seconds in their heads, Anderson executed a perfect on-side kick to the middle of the field, recovering the ball on the Parker 48. A pair of penalties moved the Cowboys inside the Parker 30 but the drive stalled.
On its very first play, Parker handed the ball to Jonny Ferris, who scampered in front of the Camp Verde bench 69 yards for a touchdown. Brett Yarbrough's extra point knotted the score 7-7.
Parker then scored touchdowns on seven of its next eight possessions, being stopped only in its advancement through Camp Verde territory by halftime. The Broncs had a 35-7 lead at intermission and didn't slow down until the end of the third quarter when senior John Nelson tallied his second touchdown of the night.
The most devastating pairing of the night for the Broncs may have been that of senior quarterback Paul Thompson to senior wide receiver Brent Woodard. The two hooked up three times for touchdowns.
The Cowboys committed five turnovers, three of which led to scores.
Camp Verde seemed to wake up in the fourth quarter with a pair of touchdown drives. The teams exchanged fumbles before the Cowboys went on a 10-play, 66-yard drive that ended when sophomore Payton Lienhart twisted in from nine yards out to score Camp Verde's second touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt failed and Camp Verde trailed 55-13.
The Cowboys then executed their second successful onsides kick of the night as the ball bounced perfectly into the air and into the waiting arms of Cody Brown giving Camp Verde the ball on the Parker 45. Five plays later, Charlie Baca busted into the end zone from the 5-yard-line and Nelson scored the 2-point conversion to close the scoring for the night at 55-21.
"We gave them too many opportunities," Steege said. "We did some things right. The line play in the (last quarter) was good ... The onside kicks worked out."