Camp Verde High football opened the season with a last minute loss but the young Cowboys impressed.
Scottsdale Prep beat Camp Verde 16-12 on Friday night at Paradise Valley High School.
“It was a great game, it was tough to end up on the short end of it but both teams just played their guts out,” CV head coach Rick Walsworth said.
A narrow loss — the Cowboys took the lead with less than three minutes to go — was not really expected for a team with just five seniors.
“As many freshmen and sophomores as we’re playing, first ball game, on the road, down in the heat, against a team that’s a lot better, we were really pleased with the effort,” Walsworth said.
Junior fullback Cale Cook carried the ball close to 25 times for the Cowboys.
“He was just a workhorse,” Walsworth said. “We had a lot of guys that stepped up and made plays.”
Playing both ways, freshman slot/cornerback Matt Loza practically didn’t leave field. He is the younger brother of 2018 Camp Verde alumnus Ryan Loza.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Spartans took a 10-0 lead in the second as the Phoenix heat and the Cowboys’ depth took a toll.
“Second quarter was a real struggle for us,” Walsworth said. “It was a lot warmer down there than we had had at our place conditioning kinda got to our guys a little bit.”
However, the Cowboys’ defense held SPA to a field goal right before the half after the Spartans had a 1st and goal inside the five yard line. Then they controlled the ball in the third with an over 10 minute possession.
“We needed to keep our defense off the field for a while,” Walsworth said.
Senior quarterback Steven Petty scored the Cowboys’ touchdowns on a couple short runs.
The Cowboys host Heritage Academy Laveen on Friday at 7 p.m. Their next six games are at home or at Chino Valley or Sedona Red Rock.
“It will be great, the next five weeks we’ll be up north,” Walsworth said.