Sedona improved to 4-0 with the West Region win, the best-ever start for a Red Rock grid team. The Scorpions also secured their first-ever football triumph over their neighbors from Cowboy country – on CVHS homecoming night to boot.
"We did it for coach (Jim) Cromartie and we did it for ourselves," said runningback Matt Wyatt, who ran strong for four quarters and picked up the game-clinching first down with less than a minute to play.
"We wanted to put this down in history. There is no better feeling than being 4-0 going into our homecoming game."
In its six years of playing football, Red Rock had never won more than two games in a row to start a season. By jumping to 2-0 in the West Region standings, the Scorpions put themselves in prime position to challenge for another historical milestone – a first-ever berth into the 3A state grid playoffs.
Friday’s win was definitely a dogfight, as the final score suggests. Much was made of Camp Verde’s sizable offensive and defensive lines going in, but Red Rock trench workers more than held their own despite giving up numerous pounds at most positions.
"I don’t know if we neutralized (their size), as they had some nice drives too," Cromartie said. "We just made some big plays when we had to, and they made some mistakes.
"We didn’t beat them, but we won the game, and that’s important to us."
Both teams made incursions into the others’ territory during the first three quarters, but both were turned away empty handed.
Red Rock had the best shot to get on the board on its first drive of the second half, taking the kickoff and marching steadily to the Cowboy 14. The series stalled on downs, however, at the 9.
Jeremy Woodson caught a swing pass and spun away from one defender on fourth down, but back David McDonald wrangled him to the turf a few yards short of the first-down marker.
Camp Verde then plowed its way from the 9 to the Red Rock 43. But Demetri Baca came up a foot short on fourth-and-four, ending the eight-play series.
Finally, as Sedona regained possession, one of the two lumbering prize fighters flinched.
Wyatt took two carries 24 yards as the third quarter expired. On second down and two, Miner kept the ball on a bootleg around the right end. No one touched him on his way to the end zone.
"We had the play scouted," said Camp Verde coach Luke Steege. "I give Jim (Cromartie) a lot of credit. Sedona came ready to play."
Camp Verde foiled the extra point and had two more possessions in which to go for the tie or win.
The Cowboys moved from their 29 to the Sedona 28 on their first series after kickoff, but the 11-play drive ended when QB Chase Armstrong came up a yard short on a fourth-down scramble. A false start penalty really hurt on that last play, giving CVHS fourth-and-seven rather than fourth-and-two.
Camp Verde forced a Sedona three-and-out and then drove from its 37 to the Red Rock 31. But again mistakes tripped them up. Two flags for blocks in the back and a dropped ball in the backfield gave the Cowboys second-and-25 with the clocking ticking down under two minutes.
Armstrong took to the air, but Senger snagged an overthrow inside the 10-yard-line to end the threat. Cromartie got the water cooler bath reserved for the victors, and Steege was left to ponder how his squad can climb out of an 0-2 hole in region play.
"I was disappointed with our effort," Steege said afterward. "They weren’t here from the beginning. I told the guys to show up at 4:30, and some were rolling in at 5."
Sedona’s defense deserves a lot of credit for putting a halt to the Cowboys’ dominance in the schools’ yearly series.
The Scorpions bent but didn’t break on runs up the middle by Demetri Baca, Charlie Baca and Joey Jasman. Their speed nullified a lot of what leading rusher David McDonald could do on the outside.
Red Rock has pitched two shutouts this season and has only surrendered 18 points in all four games. The defense has only given up two touchdowns – both in the first quarter against Orme two weeks ago. Chino Valley’s defense scored on an interception last week for the other TD.
After starting the season with two impressive victories over Mayer (42-0) and Williams (21-8) , the Cowboys have scored only 6 points in two region games. The passing game left much to be desired against Sedona, which doesn’t bode well if Camp Verde gets behind.
"We’re not going to beat people throwing the football," Steege said.
Red Rock faces its toughest test to date this Friday when Parker visits for homecoming. The Broncs, the 2000 state runners-up, entered Friday night’s game against Chino Valley with a 2-1 record.
Camp Verde will look to bounce back with a home game against 2-2 River Valley. Both teams share a loss to Wickenburg. River lost to Higley last week.
Sedona 0 0 0 6 — 6
Camp Verde 0 0 0 0 — 0
Jeff Miner 33 run (run failed), 11:07
Adam Senger had game clinching interception. Sedona improves to 4-0 for first time in football history. The Scorpions also beat Camp Verde for the first time in football. The Cowboys have scored just 6 points in two region games.