As the setting sun reflected off the red rocks of Sedona, the clouds absorbed their colors, turning the sky a fiery glow of orange and red. The smell of hamburgers on the grill was carried along by the evening breeze. The buzzing from the florescent lights was suddenly overpowered by AC/DC's Hell's Bells - "Bong!".... "Bong!".... signaling the start of another Friday night of high school football action.
Riding into Sedona, the Camp Verde Cowboys were looking to take the sting out of the Scorpions from Red Rock High School. By the time the game was over they had done more than that; they sent them seeking shelter among the rocks from which they came. The most exciting play of the game had to be when William Trahin returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. With a final score of 49-27, the Cowboys won on the road for the second week in a row.
The Cowboys didn't exactly get off to a good start. After receiving the opening kickoff, they lasted three plays before fumbling the ball for the first turnover of the game. Sedona didn't do much better, throwing an interception on third-and-nine.
On their next possession, Trahin, twisting and turning his way across the field, carried the ball into Sedona territory. Seth Mosley followed up to put Camp Verde on the scoreboard. With a bad snap on the PAT, the Cowboys were able to recover, completing a pass to Randy Rezzonico who was standing wide open in the end zone. The problem -- this would be the first of several bad long snaps for the Cowboys. The first quarter ended with Camp Verde leading 8-0.
On their first possession in the second quarter, Camp Verde found itself on Sedona's 2-yard line. Third-and-goal, Rezzonico got the call and taking it up the gut he put Camp Verde on the board again.
With the ball in their hands the Scorpions kept hurting themselves with penalties, having to replay second down three times. Second-and-23, they moved the ball a few yards but ended up punting it away. But Sedona got a huge break when the ball took a Scorpion bounce and the Cowboys were unable to get ahold of the ball. All of sudden Sedona was now sitting on the Cowboys' 38-yardline, with first-and-10.
Sedona's offense pounded it out on the ground and, finding a hole in the Cowboy line, carried it in for their first TD of the game. They tacked on the PAT, making the score 15 to 7.
The Cowboys started their next possession on their 20-yard line. Mosley got the handoff from QB Mike Boler and in an amazing demonstration of speed he sprinted downfield for a gain of about 24 yards. On the next play, Mosley tucked the ball in again. This time he shook off three tackles and didn't stop until he reached the end zone. With another bad snap on the PAT, all Boler could do was fall on the ball.
On its next possession, Sedona got another big break when what looked like an interception by Trahin was called incomplete, giving the ball back to the Scorpions. With a short pass across the middle they were able to score. With 1:27 left in the half, the Scorpions called a timeout before attempting the PAT. With Camp Verde's 2-point conversion earlier, maybe Sedona was going to try to catch up with a 2-pointer of their own. Instead they kicked the PAT making the score 21-14.
With less than a minute left in the first half, coach Luke Steege put the hurry-up offense into play. Boler connected with several short passes to Nelson, Mosley and finally to Trahin in the end zone. With a successful PAT, the Cowboys looked at finishing the half, 28-14.
Sedona tried its hurry-up offense and as the final seconds ticked away and with the ball in the air, Brandon Nelson found the ball in his hands. Heading toward Camp Verde's end zone, he was dragged down before he could reach the goal line. The ball was called back to about Camp Verde's own 45 yard-line due to an inadvertent whistle. With three seconds, left the Cowboys tried one more pass across the middle, resulting in Boler's only incomplete pass of the game.
On their first possession of the second half, Camp Verde pounded out several running plays. With the down marker showing fourth down, coach Steege brought it to the attention of the referees that it was only third down. Showing his displeasure, Sedona's head coach insisted it was fourth. After holding a zebra conference at midfield, they decided it was third down.
Boler gave the ball to Mosley and for the third time in the game he ended up in the end zone with the football.
With an unsportsmanlike call, the penalty yards were assessed prior to the PAT attempt. Another long snap muffed, the Cowboys somehow were able to pull the ball out of their hats and connect with a toss into the end zone and score the 2-point conversion. While not the most ideal way to run the play, it certainly made for an exciting game.
With the score 36-14 it was beginning to look like the Cowboys were going to run away with the game.
When the Cowboys got the ball back, it was Damien Baca's turn to put some yardage under his feet. With a 25-yard run he put the Cowboys on Sedona's 15-yardline.
Looking for someone in the end zone, Boler connected with Trahin, only to have the play go backwards when the referee called offensive pass interference on Trahin. With fourth-and-37, Camp Verde was forced to punt. Once again a bad snapped forced the Cowboys to think on their feet and instead of punting they tried throwing. Either way Sedona took possession of the ball.
Sedona made the most of their next possession and brought themselves within 15 of Camp Verde.
With the kickoff came the most exciting play of the game when Trahin returned the ball 98 yards for a touchdown. Even more exciting was the fact that no little yellow hankies were littering the field.
Figuring that the 2-point conversion had worked by default two times earlier in the game, the Cowboys decided to call the play, only to end up just short of the goal line.
With Camp Verde up 42-21, the Scorpions were really starting to feel the pressure as time quickly ran off the play clock. Both sides picked up their intensity level, resulting in flags flying from everyone in black and white. Both sides were called for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Reaching the end zone one more time, the Scorpions tried to close the gap. On the PAT the Cowboys were able to get inside and block the kick.
As the Cowboys tried to move the ball downfield, Sedona was able to knock the ball lose and recover the fumble. But moments later on a double reverse, the ball slipped out during the exchange and Ben Hauser fell on top of it. Camp Verde took possession and marched the ball downfield to score one more time making it 49-27.
Trying to score one more time before the clock ran out, Sedona dropped the ball and Ben Hauser once again found himself covering up the ball.
The Cowboys offense played an outstanding game with Boler completing 8 of 9 for 126 yards passing. Trahin carried the ball nine times for 82 yards with 39 yards passing for a touchdown as well as the 98-yard kickoff return to the end zone. Mosley had five carries for 108 yards and three TDs. Baca rounded out the offensive arsenal with 17 carries for 129 yards, reaching the end zone on 2 occasions.
Steege was delighted with his team's performance. "Every team we play, they know they have played a game because we hit them! We have to if we want to win against teams like Snowflake and Blue Ridge."
The Cowboys return to Camp Verde next Friday to take on Snowflake. The game starts at 7 p.m. and the Cowboys hope to add on win No. 3.