Officially speaking, Dave Miller is a first-year varsity head coach.
But realistically, the Camp Verde boys soccer chief has veteran status with his players.
Miller served as the Cowboys' junior varsity coach for five seasons before taking over the program from Nando Lucero. He's also worked with many on the current roster for years on his club teams.
That familiarity between players and coach has bred a great start to the Miller era. Camp Verde improved to 8-1 overall on Tuesday with its 4-0 win over Sedona Red Rock. The Cowboys enter the second round of region games all alone in first place with a 5-0 mark.
"I've known these kids for the last five years," Miller said. "We're starting to play up to our potential – starting to."
Camp Verde's offense has been impressive thus far. The Cowboys have outscored region foes 28-3, including three goals against the defending state champs, Chino Valley, a few weeks back.
Jesse Taylor recorded his second hat trick of 2001 against Red Rock. He booted two goals in the first half and added his third goal in the second. Miller called the junior an ideal player to work with.
"He's so focused on the ball," Miller said. "He's very coachable. He takes criticism well and tries to adjust his game. When he has the opportunity, he has great speed."
Freshman Seth McCabe netted the other Camp Verde goal. He lofted a shot from about 35-40 yards out over the Sedona keeper's head about 20 minutes into the first half. The Cowboys took seven shots during the game, according to the team stat book, and netted four. Not a bad average.
Ian Borchers, Hector Lopez, Josh Ortega, Brian Wagner and keeper Ben Miller paced the Cowboy defense, which earned its fifth shutout of 2001. Ben Miller had three saves. All five defensive starters are seniors, giving the Cowboys a mature back line.
"We have great team leadership," the coach said. "Our seniors are selfless. They just want to see the team grow. And they realize (opponents) can't win if they don't score on us."
Camp Verde has another big region game tonight (Friday). Chino Valley visits for a rematch at 6 p.m. The Cowboys outdueled the Cougars 3-2 in double overtime in the first meeting. Camp Verde could surge to a two-game lead in the league standings with a victory.
The next CVHS-Sedona game is in mid-October.
"We look at it as a long battle, and this is merely one round," Miller said of the local rivalry. "We've got to play them in Sedona and then hopefully in the finals at state."