Staff photo by Jared Dort
Fab four: Camp Verde has a solid core of returning players, including four major contributors from last year. Zach Davis, Trevor Hammon, Andy Brooks and Seth McCabe are back for 2004, and this time they won't be satisfied with just a Final Four appearance.
While that’s sure to improve the rivalry match-ups across the board, not everyone in the West may enjoy having CVHS back in the fold. The Cowboys return as reigning champs of the Metro and have been to three straight Final Fours at the state level.
Camp Verde’s presence makes the West that much harder to win. It may, in fact, be the deepest league in the state this autumn.
"You like being in a region where you have history," Miller said. "The West is going to be really strong and really competitive this year. I don’t look for any team to go undefeated."
The Cowboys have a history of being hard-nosed on defense and getting better as a season progresses. This year should be no different, Miller said.
Camp Verde returns eight players who started at least some last year during the team’s 20-2-1 run.
Headlining the bunch is senior center midfielder Seth McCabe. Last year, McCabe booted 19 goals and had 17 assists, good enough for first-team all-region status and second-team all-state.
McCabe will be joined on offense by fellow senior Andrew Brooks, who had a breakout season at the club level this past spring.
The other two returning seniors – Trevor Hammond and Zach Davis – will help anchor that stingy defense. Both will play on the outside. Hammond earned honorable mention all-region a year ago.
The biggest defensive hole the Cowboys will have to fill comes at goalkeeper. For the past four years Miller’s sons Ben and Sam have tended the net. Both earned all-region and all-state recognition for their work.
This year, Augustine Romero appears to have won the starting job. He doesn’t have the experience yet but definitely has the athleticism. Allan Minner and Ryan Betz also are working in goal, with Betz starting the year as the number one JV keeper.
"We’ve taken it for granted for so long (having an all-state keeper)," coach Miller said. "Javier Pineda (assistant coach) has been working hard to develop a goalie for us."
Romero will have plenty of experienced feet around him in the defensive lineup.
In addition to Hammond and Davis, Ernesto Sierras and Rudy Carrillo return to the backfield. Both are accomplished kickboxers as well as soccer players, and both won belts in a recent national competition in Florida.
Other key returnees include sophomore Will Allen, a scoring threat on offense; Manuel Romero, an outside midfielder, and Isaac Orellana, another midfielder and four-year contributor.
Junior Casey Thompson, a hot-shot basketball player, will give soccer a go this fall. "He’s been a real good find for us," Miller said.
Other expected contributors include junior Alfonso Pesqueda, sophomore Victor Romero and freshman Matt Showers. The program has 30 players in all this year, including 11 freshmen. The JV team, coached by Pineda, will play a full schedule.
"We lack a lot of depth experience-wise," Miller said. "I think we’ll finish off better than we’re going to start. We’ll get better and better."