Playing a man down for most of the game, Camp Verde High boys soccer suffered a shock defeat in the de facto region championship game
No. 1 Chino Valley (20-0-0, 6-0-0 Central) completed the perfect regular season with a 7-1 win at Camp Verde on Thursday night on the Cowboys’ senior night.
No. 3 Camp Verde (15-3-3, 6-1 Central) had an unbeaten run of 14 games and a win streak of five.
In the 37th minute, Camp Verde senior goalkeeper Preston Maynard slide tackled Chino Valley freshman Angel Sanchez just outside the penalty box. The foul led to a red card for Maynard, who was second team All-State last year.
However, with 41 seconds left in the first half, Camp Verde senior Wesley Loveall scored the game’s first goal.
Camp Verde head coach David Miller said losing Maynard was almost like going down two men.
“We had the momentum and the emotion, that was awesome and then reality set in in the second half,” Miller said. “We didn’t have anybody prepared to step in for Preston, I mean he’s probably one of the nicest kids in school, straight A student, model citizen and never misses a game and this is what happens when you miss the number one goalie in the state and go down a man too.”
Camp Verde’s only losses before Thursday night were to the Cougars both by 2-1 score lines. Chino Valley has won four straight state championships.
“It was a really tough game, we knew it was going to be really hard, it’s their senior night, they’re a good team, well coached, we knew we were going to have a battle,” said Chino Valley head coach Todd Carey.
Less than three minutes into the second half, Chino Valley scored the equalizer. Then a couple minutes later, they took the lead and floodgates opened.
Two Cougars ended up with hat tricks.
“It’s nice, this is the last game, this was for the section championship, and we were really nervous,” said Chino Valley senior Elijah Desmond, who had a hat trick. “Camp Verde’s a fantastic team and we went and we played really good.”
Carey said he thought the Cougars played better in the first half but Miller disagreed.
“We thought we had their number in the first half,” Miller said. “We were able to stop their offense and then have plenty of opportunities I thought it was probably a 60/40 first half, I thought we were gaining momentum and then unfortunately we had a questionable red.”
Carey said winning the region is a big deal because three of the top four teams in the state are in the Central.
“It feels good and it’s tough,” Carey said. “I thought our region is extremely tough this year I’ve been saying it all year, I think Camp Verde’s a top three team in the state and I think Phoenix Country Day is too and obviously Blue Ridge is up there.”