Staff photo by Eric Lusk
CAMP VERDE's Joe Bux defends during a recent region game against Precision.
Translated: If you want to be one of the 10 guys playing on the field, you’d better have a firm grasp on every job description, from defender to midfielder to forward.
“At any time, they need to be ready to step in and play (anywhere),” Miller said.
One of those times came Saturday as the Cowboys faced St. Paul’s without two of their regular starters – Seth McCabe (flu) and Matt Strickland (broken wrist).
It took a half or so for Camp Verde to settle into a groove with its revamped lineup, but once they did, the Lions were no match.
The Cowboys scored eight goals in the second half en route to a 10-1 victory. It was the most lopsided result of the season as Miller’s team improved to 14-0-1 heading into the second round of conference games.
“Now the guys understand why we practice so hard,” the coach said. “I was excited to see everyone follow through on what we worked on.”
Andy Brooks and Trevor Hammond both saw time at center mid, the position that McCabe usually occupies and is considered the quarterback of the offense. Alfonso Pesqudira slid into the defensive center mid position usually held by Strickland.
Hammond scored the game’s second goal on an assist from Seth Scott. Brooks netted the first of Camp Verde’s eight goals during the second-half onslaught.
Manuel Romero had a hat trick, scoring early in the first half and then heading in corner kicks from Sam Miller twice in the second. Heiser Vasquez and Marvin Marquez each had two goals. Will Allen completed the scoring.
Sam Miller, the starting keeper, had three assists total after coming out of the goal in the second half to play in the field. Hammond, and Zack Davis each finished with two assists. Vasquez finished up the game at keeper, allowing just one late goal by the Lions.
Camp Verde outshot St. Paul’s 35-2. The scoring could have been much more lopsided but the Cowboys pulled back on shooting after reaching 10.
Assistant coach Debbi Miller called Romero’s second half goals a “thing of beauty.” Sam Miller served up two nice corner kicks into the middle of the field, and Romero got his head on both of them, flicking them into the goal.
That’s something Camp Verde practiced a lot during its week off from games leading up to the contest, Dave Miller said. “We scored four or five goals off crosses,” he said.
The Cowboys hope Strickland can be cleared to play again by the time the state playoffs roll around the first weekend of November. Strickland returned to the soccer team this season after some time away from the sport and has been one of the most valuable members of the midfield.
He’s usually around the ball when opponents try to attack the Cowboy half. He’s one big reason why Camp Verde has six shutouts.
“He’s a tremendous defensive player, and we’re going to miss him,” Dave Miller said. “He played about every minute of every game for us.”
The Cowboys improved to 5-0 in conference play with Saturday’s win. The next week will bring league rematches with Surrey Garden (Thursday), Phoenix Country Day (Saturday) and St. Paul’s (Tuesday). CVHS played at Precision last night (finished after press time) and will conclude the regular season Saturday, Oct. 25 at Valley Lutheran.
Only the St. Paul’s rematch will be a home game.
The top seeds from each region will host first-round state playoff games on Saturday, Nov. 1. The quarterfinals, semifinals and championship game for boys all will be played at Camp Verde on Nov. 6-8.
The past two seasons, Tucson’s Udall Park hosted the tournament. Both years, Camp Verde advanced to the Final Four before getting knocked out – by Blue Ridge in 2001 and Sedona in ’02.