Cowboys face "stacked" schedule<br><i>Six playoff teams from 2003 among Camp Verde's '04 football opponents</i>

Camp Verde High’s football team will open the 2004 season against a state semifinalist from a year ago.

The Cowboys will host North Region champion Winslow in its debut on Friday, Aug. 27. Winslow has been a scrimmage opponent the past couple of seasons, but the game will count in the standings this go around as CVHS adds a 10th foe to its schedule.

The Bulldogs went 8-1 in the regular season during 2003. They beat Parker and Blue Ridge in the playoffs before falling to eventual state champion Show Low in the Final Four.

Camp Verde went 3-6 in ’03, just missing out on the playoffs by one spot in the West Region standings. The last meeting between CVHS and Winslow in football came during the 2002 post-season when the Bulldogs clipped the Cowboys 20-14 at home.

Things don’t get easier for Camp Verde – one of the smallest schools in 3A – after the opener.

"I really think we’ve got the toughest schedule in the Verde Valley," said coach Luke Steege. "The first five games, we’re going to play three teams in the top five. The schedule is stacked."

Of the five non-conference foes, three advanced to the 3A state playoffs a year ago – Winslow, Queen Creek and Coolidge. The Cowboys will visit Queen Creek on Sept. 17 and then host Coolidge the following week.

Other non-region games come against Fountain Hills (away on Sept. 3) and Ganado (home on Sept. 10).

Region action begins with an Oct. 1 trip to Parker, followed by games against Wickenburg (away on Oct. 8), River Valley (home on Oct. 15), Sedona Red Rock (home on Oct. 22) and Chino Valley (away on Oct. 29).

River Valley will be the homecoming game. Sedona is the senior night opponent. The 3A state playoffs will start Nov. 5.

Steege returns for his sixth season as Camp Verde’s coach. He has compiled a 21-25 record in his tenure with one trip to state in 2002.

The Cowboys will hold their first football practice on Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. That first week, practice will be in the evenings to accommodate those with jobs and other summer commitments, Steege said.

Camp Verde released all of its fall schedules this week. The volleyball team will open the reason on Aug. 31 at Mayer. The home opener for the CVHS spikers will be Sept. 18 against River Valley.

The boys soccer team will start at Northland Prep on Aug. 31. The home opener for the 2003 state semifinalists will come on Sept. 11 against the team that knocked them out of last year’s playoffs – Show Low.

The girls soccer team will begin its quest for another Final Four berth at home on Sept. 4 against River Valley.

Athletic director Mark Showers said the Cowboys may restart its cross country program this fall. Details are still pending.

All CVHS athletes must have physicals completed before they are eligible to participate in a fall sport.

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