Camp Verde High football kicks off Aug. 25

Cowboys play first full season in Rhoades era

Camp Verde running back Ryan Loza carries the ball against Scottsdale Christian last year at home. The Cowboys play at SCA on Sept. 1 in their first road game. (VVN/Vyto Starinskas)

Camp Verde running back Ryan Loza carries the ball against Scottsdale Christian last year at home. The Cowboys play at SCA on Sept. 1 in their first road game. (VVN/Vyto Starinskas)

Camp Verde High football faces a schedule full of familiar faces, with one definite unknown.

The Cowboys play five home games and five away in the first full season of the Jerome Rhoades era.

“It’s gonna be a good schedule,” Rhoades said. “It’s gonna be a tough schedule but it’s one that we think we can be successful in.”

Last year the Cowboys went 4-6, but went 3-1 in their final four games as Rhoades became head coach.

Camp Verde opens the season against Chino Valley, their only upper division foe this year, on August 25, at home. Last year the Cougars beat the Cowboys 52-0.

“I think our kids do a good job of keeping in the moment and they are not going to be thinking so much about the rivalry,” Rhoades said. “They’re gonna be thinking about the shellacking that took last year. It was like 56 or something to nothing and it could have been probably 80 to nothing. I remind them of that about as often as I can and so that’s definitely one that we are paying particularly close attention to.”

After head coach Steve Darby was placed on administrative leave last September, Rhoades took over on an interim basis before getting the head coach job after the season.

The Cowboys face nine of the teams they played last year.

“There isn’t anybody that’s going to be any different from last year,” Rhoades said. “We’re not going to surprise anybody and nobody’s going to surprise us. I think the schedule is pretty straight forward and I think teams are just roughly going to be pretty much the same as they were last year.”

The one difference for Camp Verde this year is AZ College Prep, a school fielding a football team for the first time.

“They might actually surprise some people, because they are private, they can recruit kids and without knowing anything about them, they kinda scare me a little bit,” Rhoades said. “I think this should be a game that we can win, but it’s also a game that could surprise me.”

Last year Camp Verde finished tied for third in the Central Region with a 3-3 record. Paradise Valley won the region with a 6-0 record and the Cowboys host them on Sept. 29.

Rhoades said the region will be tough again but thinks the Cowboys have a chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

“It’s gonna be tough,” Rhoades said. “I’d love to win a couple of those games that we were close in last year and maybe have a chance to make the playoffs. I know that’s kind of a stretch to think about Camp Verde being in the playoffs but we were pretty close last year in a couple games and if we can get over that hump, who knows.”

2017 Camp Verde football schedule

Aug. 25

vs. Chino Valley

Battle for the Boot

Mascot: Cougars

Region: 3A West

2016 record: 5-5

2016 result: 52-0 Chino Valley win

Fun fact: The two CVs have played for the boot twice and each side has one it once.

Sept. 1

at Scottsdale Christian

Mascot: Eagles

Region: 2A Metro West

2016 record: 10-3, state quarterfinals

2016 result: 48-6 Scottsdale Christian win

Fun fact: Scottsdale Christian is located in Phoenix.

Sept. 8

vs. AZ College Prep

Mascot: Knights

Region: 2A Metro East

2016 record: N/A

2016 result: N/A

Fun fact: The game at Camp Verde is the Knights’ first road football game.

Sept. 15

at Kingman Academy

Mascot: Tigers

2016 record: 6-4

2016 result: 34-6 Kingman Academy win

Fun fact: Kingman Academy was founded in 1995 as one of Arizona’s first 12 charter schools.

Sept. 22

vs. Tonopah Valley

Mascot: The Phoenix

2016 record: 5-5

2016 result: 20-10 Tonopah Valley win

Fun fact: Seven of the Phoenix’s coaches went to Buckeye Union High School.

Sept. 29

vs. Paradise Honors

Mascot: Panthers

2016 record: 10-2, state quarterfinals

2016 result: 48-6 Paradise Honors win

Fun fact: From 2013 to 2016, the Panthers had three different head coaches.

Oct. 6

at Mohave Accelerated

Mascot: Patriots

2016 record: 0-10

2016 result: 39-0 Camp Verde win

Fun fact: The Patriots’ last win was October 2, 1995, they’ve lost 14 games in a row.

Oct. 13

vs. Parker

Mascot: Broncs

2016 record: 3-7

2016 result: 21-0, Camp Verde win

Fun fact: The Broncs won back-to-back state championships in the 1970s.

Oct. 20

at Gilbert Christian

Mascot: Knights

Region: 2A Metro West

2016 record: 6-5, state first round

2016 result: 24-20 Gilbert Christian win

Fun fact: Gilbert Christian has elementary and middle schools too and will add another elementary school this fall.

Oct. 27

at Sedona Red Rock

Mascot: Scorpions

2016 record: 2-8

206 result: 12-8 Camp Verde win

Fun fact: Camp Verde is 7-6 against SRR since 2004.

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