Camp Verde High boys soccer won its last two road games and moved up in the rankings.
The No. 3 Cowboys (15-2-3, 6-0 Central) beat No. 5 Phoenix Country Day and No. 16 Ash Fork/Seligman to extend their unbeaten run to 14 games and their win streak to five.
“I thought they were really good,” said Cowboys head coach David Miller about the last two road games.
After falling behind, 2-0, Camp Verde rallied to beat Phoenix Country Day 4-3 in two overtimes on Saturday.
“It was all it was supposed to be, the number four team against the number five team,” Miller said. “They’re a very strong team and we went down and we had Homecoming the night before (laughs) and so we were a little tired when we got on the bus at 7:30 in the morning.”
Senior Nathan Schultz had a hat trick and junior Brandon Cruz scored the other goal.
“We got behind a little bit in the very beginning, we had a defensive breakdown to give up the first goal and then the second goal was sort of a misplayed ball,” Miller said.
At half time, the Cowboys changed their formation and it paid off.
Schultz tied the game up with 3:45 left and then Cruz scored the game winner halfway through the second over time. Senior Preston Maynard had nine saves.
Then on Monday, the Cowboys outlasted Ash Fork 4-3 in one overtime.
Miller said he didn’t know if these close games, most of their wins were like 6-0, 8-0 score lines, were good or bad for the team heading into the playoffs.
“I’m not sure,” Miller said. “I know that we had a really tough Saturday game and a Sunday off and then we had to be Ash Fork on Monday for an afternoon game and I had a bunch of tired boys when we showed up there and we jumped out there pretty quick and got a goal Ash Fork was able to play the game to their advantage.”
Ash Fork had a smaller field and artificial turf, which the Cowboys weren’t used to.
“They were able to condense the game and put a lot of pressure on us, come back and tie it up, take the lead and they had to lead or it was tied through most of the game,” Miller said. “We were down 2-1 late in the game and were able to tie it up and send it to overtime.”
With two seconds left in the first overtime, freshman Luis Venegas scored the game winner. Miller said he always seems to be “in the right place at the right time.”
“He seems to have a knack for being able to do that.”
Junior Joseph Jones, Cruz and sophomore Beto Ruiz scored the other goals.
“If you ever have the choice to be lucky or good, I’d always choose lucky,” Miller said. “It’s not that we were outplayed, we outshot them 2-1 on shots on goal, but the ball wasn’t falling for us and the boys just hung in there and kept playing hard.”
With the wins, the Cowboys moved up to third in the rankings.
Their only losses were to top ranked Chino Valley and they tied No. 2 Blue Ridge in a tournament.
“I think that’s where we fit,” Miller said. “I think we’re a top three team this year.”
The top four seeds host the first round of the playoffs.
The Cowboys didn’t play in the football game, but they were very busy on Homecoming.
Senior Wesley Loveall was selected Homecoming king. Plus Venegas the count for the freshman class and senior Nick Daniels and Maynard helped with the spirit.
“We had a lot of boys involved in the program and of course the school president is Nathan Schultz,” Miller said. “Being distracted with all of that and still being able to get enough focus together to play. I’m hoping that all this will make us a tougher team as we move forward.”