Ash Fork's boys soccer team had Dave Miller concerned.
The Camp Verde coach knew the Spartans had played defending state champion Chino Valley tough before falling 1-0. He also knew they gave Sedona Red Rock a fierce battle before losing. If there was one team not to overlook on the region schedule, Ash Fork fit the bill.
"They are a real sleeper of a team," Miller said last week.
Camp Verde, however, delivered a stern wake up call in Saturday's meeting. Jesse Taylor scored twice, and four others added one goal apiece, as the Cowboys rolled 6-0.
Ash Fork kept Camp Verde out of the net for the first 30 minutes. But once Taylor, a junior, broke the deadlock with his first goal, the floodgates opened. Sam Miller added another score five minutes later.
Taylor gave the Cowboys a 3-0 lead 10 minutes into the second half. Matt Strickland, Seth Padilla and Noah Cooley then added exclamation points to an already impressive victory. Cooley's goal came on a penalty kick.
"They were a real challenge that first 30 minutes," Miller said of Ash Fork. "Then we were able to get into our game and get some points on the board."
The Cowboy defense pitched its fourth shutout of the season. Josh Ortega anchors the stopping unit in front of keeper Ben Miller. Ian Borchers also played well against Ash Fork.
"The defense has been really solid," Miller said.
Camp Verde entered this week as the top team in the region. The Cowboys (7-1 overall, 4-0 in league play) faced Sedona Red Rock on Tuesday and will entertain Chino Valley in a rematch on Friday night.
Wins against the Scorpions and Cougars would push Miller's team two games in front of the pack to start the second half of the league season. A loss or two muddies the waters.
"It's a big week," Miller said.
CAMP VERDE GIRLS: The Cowboys enjoyed a clean sweep in Saturday soccer action. Camp Verde's varsity girls also won in a shutout, defeating Snowflake 4-0.
Chantel Reimer recorded three first-half goals. The junior then assisted Michelle Toogood's score in the second half. Colleen McCabe paced a defense that has only been scored upon four times this fall.
Like the boys, Camp Verde's girls played Sedona on Tuesday and will host Chino Valley this Friday. The Cowboys (8-1 overall, 3-0 in region) won the first meeting with Chino 3-1 last week.
CAMP VERDE VOLLEYBALL: The Cowboys lost a pair of region matches last week to Fountain Hills and River Valley.
Fountain's 15-1, 15-0 defeat last Tuesday had CVHS coach Tammy Tieman pretty discouraged.
"We stood there and took a severe beating," she said. "We were hanging our heads before the game even began. Savannah (Thompson) was the only server that got to serve the second game."
Despite losing to River Valley 15-8, 15-3 in Thursday's action, Camp Verde played much better, Tieman said.
"We played tough and had a lot of good things happen," she said. "Although we lost, we were back to playing as a team and weren't afraid to play like we know how."
Katie Miller, especially, provided plenty of Cowboy highlights. "(She) dominated the net, putting up a tough wall for River Valley hitter Lindsay Castle to hit around," Tieman said. "Katie also had multiple kills."
Camp Verde spikers will be in action Thursday at Chino Valley and then will participate in an all-day tournament at Chino on Saturday.
CAMP VERDE FOOTBALL: The Cowboys (3-1) will face a long road trip this week. Luke Steege's club, coming off a 48-0 win over Sedona, will play at River Valley on Friday night.