Staff photo by Jared Dort
Sedona Quarterback Tommy Wyatt dives into the end zone for a score during the third quarter. Sedona won the game to even the rival series at 3-3.
In the last 3A meeting between the rival schools, Sedona won it’s third straight by a score of 42-28 to stay alive in it’s quest to advance to the state playoffs.
In the week leading up to the game, both coaches promised the game would be close, and they were right. Camp Verde, a 1-8 team, turned in their best performance of the season, keeping it close until the final minutes before the clock expired. The Cowboys even took a 21-20 lead in the third quarter for only the second time this season.
"I was very pleased with how our team played," CVHS coach Luke Steege said. "It was the first time we’d put pressure on a team this year. At least it was an exciting game."
The lead, however, would be short-lived. Sedona came back on the following possession to put the game away.
Neither team played particularly well during the first half, although the score before the break was 20-14.
Sedona gave up 155 yards just on penalties, one of which set up Camp Verde’s second touchdown. During the series, the Scorpions’ defense was flagged for pass interference and unsportsman-like conduct. That took the ball from inside the 50 to the 3. Fullback Demetri Baca took it in to pull his team within six of the lead.
A fumble by Sedona’s Stevie Tarantino in the first quarter gave Camp Verde prime field position on the 15. Three plays later, Baca scored the Cowboys’ first touchdown of the game.
The second half was all about offense, particularly, running back Adam Senger and quarterback Tommy Wyatt. The Sedona duo was unstoppable.
After Camp Verde took a 21-20 lead by pounding out yards via the ground game, Senger found the end zone on an 8-yard run set up by a 30-yard reception by David Olsen.
The Cowboys were stopped on their next drive on their own 12, and after a poor punt to the 30, Senger took it in again.
Demetri Baca recorded his fourth TD of the night in the fourth quarter. Receiver Alex Lewis, who missed the past few games with a fracture in his elbow, and Senger got tangled up in the end zone while going for a pass. Because Senger was turned around, he was called for pass interference. That set up the run by Baca.
Camp Verde’s offense couldn’t get much brewing after that. Wyatt put the nail in the coffin on a 10-yard score off a busted pass play.
Two interceptions thrown by Zach Hauser on desperation plays on the following sets of downs in the fourth left no room for a comeback. Wyatt picked one pass, but a fumble by Tarantino gave CV the ball back. An interception by Senger closed it out.
"When you have speed like that, it’s tough to stop them," Steege said of Wyatt and Senger. "We’re capable to playing extremely well in spurts, but because we don’t have a lot of depth, we get worn down. That’s the result of being young."
Steege knew coming into the game that one of the keys was stopping Senger. That didn’t happen. The senior back rushed for 143 yards on 27 carries. Wyatt was equally as dangerous. He had 101 yards on 11 touches. The two accounted for all six touchdowns.
Camp Verde did have an offensive spark of its own. Baca had 96 yards on 19 carries with four TDs. Damien Baca was next with 52 yards.
Cromartie made an adjustment in the second half that forced Camp Verde to pass more. After taking the lead, he moved defensive end Ryan Shupak inside to take away the run. He had a sack in the game and three big hits to stop the run at the line.
"He’s just playing great football right now," Cromartie said. "We tightened him up with Ryan Rice, Eric West and Brett Senger, and that toughened up the middle."
Hauser finished the game with 75 passing yards on five completions. The sophomore needed just eight yards to break the 1,000 mark. In Steege’s six years at CVHS, no quarterback has gone above 1,000.
"That’s pretty impressive for a sophomore. Of course, he has some good receivers to throw to," Steege said.
Hicks led Camp Verde with two catches for 53 yards. Demetri Baca and Getman also hauled in passes. Sedona’s Olsen had two receptions for 58 yards, including a two-point conversion.
With the win, Sedona is guaranteed one of the three playoff spots from the West Region. River Valley (4-0) will win the title this year and carry the No. 1 seed into the state tournament after wins over Sedona and Wickenburg (3-1), who beat Parker (2-2) Friday night.
Sedona and Wickenburg will see each other this Friday. It will be the first time the two meet in Sedona since the school joined the 3A ranks.
"We have just what we wanted. If Parker can get River Valley this week, and we get Wick, we’ll share it (the title)," Cromartie said. "We need to do what we need to do, and that’s play well against Wickenburg."
That game will decided who finishes second or third, depending on the outcome of River-Parker.
Camp Verde will be on the road next Friday at Chino Valley in the battle of the 0-4 teams.