Then an idea dawned on the longtime sideline stalker. By Tuesday, it reached full-blown proportions. By midweek, the Scorpions had a whole new offense.
Actually, it’s an old-school approach. Cromartie has turned Sedona into a wishbone team.
"We were in a coaches meeting (Tuesday) and I told them, ‘You guys had better grab hold of your seats,’" Cromartie said. "You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I said I want to go the ‘bone. They got a light in their eyes. We went out and looked at it, and all the things I thought were there, were there."
The Scorpions passed their first test Friday night against the 2A Vikings. The wishbone made its debut in Red Rock country with a 28-14 Sedona win. Though the offense is designed to make any one of four backs into a potential rusher, junior Adam Senger scored all four Scorpion TDs.
"I love it. It’s my passion," said Cromartie, who first learned the wishbone as a high school coach in Oklahoma in the 1970s. "I had a lot of help from Barry Switzer, who was an assistant at OU then.
"That’s always been what I’ve done, but we haven’t had the personnel here because of the lack of a junior high program. I was a little anxious about making a change at this time and what impact it might have. But this is a great bunch. They want to do well with it."
Cromartie believed the switch was necessary after reviewing rushing totals from the Valley Christian game. Senior Mark Gaulden, a fullback, got 20-plus carries, but coaches wanted to see players like Senger and Tommy Wyatt get more touches.
Plus quarterback Jeff Miner is a solid option-type quarterback, and his speed and rushing skills can scare opposing defenses. With the wishbone, other teams can’t just key on one guy.
"We’ve certainly got a ways to go," Cromartie said. "It takes a lot of time."
Senger proved the sparkplug to Friday’s win. He returned Williams’ first punt about 60 yards and set the Scorpions up on their first drive from the Vikings 9. Four plays later, he plowed into the end zone from the 3.
Williams’ next drive ended in two plays after a Senger interception at the Viking 44. Five plays later, Senger caught a delayed screen pass from Miner and sprinted 36 yards for the score. Just like that it was 14-0. The wishbone was a hit.
The rest of the contest was a grind-it-out affair. Williams scored in the second quarter to trim its deficit to 14-6, but Senger added his third touchdown on a 2-yard run for a 21-6 intermission advantage.
Senger’s fourth TD covered just a yard but put the game out of the reach in the fourth quarter. The Vikings scored late for a more respectable final margin.
Senger finished with 49 rushing yards, but was by no means the only offense. He was the one, though, who could sniff out the end zone.
"We weren’t doing an Emmitt Smith thing. Other people had the opportunity to score," Cromartie said. "On (Senger’s) last touchdown, we were at the 1 and Mark went and didn’t’ get it. Jeff went and didn’t get it. Adam went and he got it."
Miner led the Sedona defense with 11 tackles. Gaulden had nine hits, and Chris Burns had eight. Tommy Wyatt also had an interception.
Cromartie praised Burns for nailing all four extra points and for booting some nice, deep kickoffs. Extra point kicks aren’t always a given in high school football, especially at smaller schools.
"That’s been a real positive thing for us," Cromartie said. "We’ve had some trouble with extra points over the years."
The Scorpions will play at home again this week, hosting 2-0 Fountain Hills. The Falcons beat Camp Verde 10-0 in week one and pulled a stunner over Wickenburg 28-25 on Friday. Wickenburg, expected to be the frontrunner in the West Region, is 0-2 thus far after getting blitzed by Yuma Catholic 58-7 in week one.