Staff photo by Eric Lusk
Seth McCabe flicks the ball to a teammate during the first half of Camp Verde's game against Chino. McCabe scored the winning goal in OT for the Cowboys.
That’s why Tuesday night’s 4-3 overtime victory over Chino Valley proved so satisfying. Sure, it gives the Cowboys an early leg up in the race for the region title. But it also keeps that "fear of playing in Camp Verde" aura alive for another day.
Chino hasn’t won in Cowboy country since 2000, the year it won state.
"It’s our field. We’ve got to win on our field," said Cowboy coach Dave Miller, who took over the program in 2001. "The guys (Tuesday) night just refused to lose."
Seth McCabe provided the winning margin midway through the first OT period. He took the ball through the center of the defense and pounded home the score, his second of the night.
Andy Brooks, an imposing 6-4 striker, also had a hand in two goals. One of those came from a McCabe corner kick in the first half.
Camp Verde actually outshot its guests by a 69-16 margin, according to Miller’s stats. In the second half, especially, the Cowboys peppered the Cougars’ keeper with blasts from McCabe, Brooks and offensive stalwarts like Casey Thompson.
"I’ve never had a team take that many shots," Miller said. "We were just ripping them. We just needed to get some more far-post finishing."
Chino actually struck first, sneaking one past Camp Verde keeper Ryan Betz in the game’s first minutes. The Cowboys got the equalizer later in the half, and the teams traded goals after intermission, neither able to completely arrest momentum.
Had this been 2003 – when Camp Verde and Chino were in different conferences – this game would have ended as a 3-3 tie. But because it’s a league showdown this year, the contest went to OT.
Camp Verde improved to 2-0 in league play, 2-0-1 overall.
"It helps us set the tone of the rest of the season," Miller said. "It was a tough game. It was a great game. Whenever we get together with Chino and Sedona, it’s always a playoff atmosphere. That’s what rivalries are all about."
Brooks has emerged as a go-to player up top for CVHS. His first goal came on a header off McCabe’s corner kick. He just rose above everyone else and knocked it home.
"There are not many teams that can put a 6-4 striker on the field," Miller said. "He’s just built to play. He’s finally grown into his size."
Sophomore Will Allen kept the ball in the Cowboys’ possession often with strong play in the midfield. Zach Davis sparked the defense with solid play at sweeper, a position new to him this season.
Twins Manuel Romero and Augustine Romero provided speed and great ball control on the outside. "They were sending rockets in," Miller said.
The Cougars will get a chance for revenge this weekend – on its home turf – when it hosts Camp Verde during the annual Chino Cup. That game will be the fourth for both teams during the round-robin event, coming Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
Camp Verde will play El Dorado (5A from Las Vegas) and defending state champion Blue Ridge today at 12:30 and 4:30 p.m., respectively. The Cowboys will meet Snowflake in the early game (12:30) on Saturday.
CVHS is hoping to have defender/striker Rudy Carrillo back in uniform for the weekend tournament. The national champion kickboxer has missed the past three games.
Camp Verde won the Chino Cup a year ago on its way to a 20-2-1 season.