Mon, Feb. 17

Cowboys end regular season with loss
Damien Baca breaks 2A Conference career touchdown record with No. 71

It was a big game between two teams which were tied in the 2A Central region 2-2. Camp Verde traveled to Phoenix on Friday to take on the Northwest Christian Crusaders. Through four tough quarters, the Cowboys battled, but came up short with a 34-21 loss.

Northwest defense came out strong in the Cowboys' first drive and forced the to punt after almost losing the ball. The Cowboys defense stuggled against a strong passing game and the Crusaders scored first. With 4:36 left on the clock in the first quarter, Bobby Priest caught a 15-yard pass from quarterback Jacob Franz for the touchdown. The PAT failed and the scoreboard read 6-0 after one quarter.

The Cowboys didn't stay quiet for too long after that. They began making head-way offensively and with 11:05 left in the half, William Trahin carried the ball 10-yards into the end zone to tie it up, 6-6. Trahin kicked the PAT and the Cowboys led 7-6.

With things going Camp Verde's way during the drive, the momentum of the game didn't follow. Northwest scored its second touchdown of the night with a 45-yard pass play from Franz to Josh Estes. The PAT was good and the Crusaders took back the lead, 13-7 with 9:37 left in the half.

Northwest scored again almost two minutes later with another pass play, this time from 18-yards away. The PAT was good and the Crusaders were beginning to pull away with a 20-7 lead. Then they would make it a 27-7 lead with 3:16 on the clock with a 21-yard pass from Franz to Adam Mossbrucker. The PAT was good.

The Cowboys were visibly becoming more upset at themselves, down by 20 before the half.

Coach Luke Steege began having quarterback pass more on their final drive of the half and the strategy worked as the Cowboys began making headway down field. Then with under 10 seconds left and time for only one play with 20 yards to go, Boler scrambled around to avoid Crusader defenders and let go of a short Hail-Mary pass into the endzone.

With two Cowboys and two Crusaders eyeing the ball, two of them jumped while the other two looked for the rebound. The ball bounced off of Brendan Nelson and one Crusader and a quick-reacting Damien Baca caught the deflection in the end zone for a touchdown as time expired. This was Baca's 71st career touchdown. With that catch, he is the new 2A leader in career touchdowns. Trahin kicked the extra point.

The touchdown pass and PAT put Camp Verde to within two touchdowns with the scoreboard reading 27-14 at the half.

The third quarter would be a good example of defenses hashing it out. The first touchdown of the second half didn't come until the clock read 6:55 when Northwestern's quarterback Franz ran the ball in from two yards out. The PAT was good and the Crusaders extended their lead to 34-14.

With time running out, the Cowboys were going to have to do something to get back into the game. That something never came as they were only able to score one more time.

With 20-seconds left in the third quarter, Boler found Brendon Nelson for a 7-yard touchdown pass. Trahin kicked in the extra point for a score of 34-21.

Neither team scored for the remainder of the game with the final score being, 34-21. The Cowboys ended their first year in the 2A Central Region in fourth place with a region record of 2-3 and an overall record of 4-6.

As a team, the Cowboys rushed for 161 yards on 33 carries. In the air they had 101 yards for a total of 272 offensive yards. The Crusaders had a big day in the air with 253 passing yards, while collectin 81 yards on the ground.

Camp Verde's Boler went 7-for-13 with one interception. Crusaders' Franz went 17-for-24 with no interceptions.

Individually, Damien Baca led the Cowboys with 91 yards on the ground on 17 carries. Seth Mosley followed with four carries for 50 yards and William Trahin carried the ball seven times for 23 yards.

In the air, Trahin led the team with 38 receiving yards on two receptions. Baca had one catch for 20 yards, which was the record-breaking touchdown. Nelson had three catches for 36 yards and Randy Rezzonico had one catch for seven yards.

Defensively, Baca led the Cowboys with 16 total tackles and tackle assists, followed by Trahin and Rezzonico with seven apiece and Boler with six.

Although this may not be the way the Cowboys wanted to end the regular season, they have a lot to look forward to next Friday when they take on region foe, Valley Christian in the first round of the 2A State playoffs.

The No. 14 Cowboys faced No. 3 Valley Christian on Sept. 28 in a region match-up. The Trojans defeated the Cowboys 41-21 with a very strong running game. The Trojans ended their region in the No. 2 spot with a 4-1 region record and 7-2 overall.

The playoff game will be at Valley Christian high school at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2..

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