Young Camp Verde football opens season at home
Camp Verde High football is once again young but their campaign is bolstered by the return of a familiar face and five home games.
The Cowboys open up the season on Friday when they host Scottsdale Prep at 7 p.m.
CV features only four seniors, three of which were starters a year ago.
“We’re gonna be about a year older but we’re still gonna be playing a ton of sophomores and we’ve only got six seniors and only one of them played a lot last year, so we’re still young, especially experience wise,” CV head coach Rick Walsworth said.
The Cowboys lost Steven Petty and Cale Cook, who were first team All-Verde Region last year and honorable mention Damian Wathogoma. However CV returns second teamers Jacob Kane, Peyton Kelley and freshman linebacker Jacob Oothoudt and Josh Lake and Matt Loza, who were honorable mention.
No other school had any freshman on the first or second All-Verde teams and none had more than one sophomore. In total, there were only three sophomores on the first or second teams besides the Cowboys.
“It feels nice to be a year older, for the most part, everywhere, but there’s gonna be some growing pains, it’s gonna be a learning process,” Walsworth said.
Camp Verde does return former head coach Steve Darby, who is the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator.
CV’s numbers are up again in Walsworth’s second season. They went 3-6 last year.
“We’re at 38, so numbers are good,” Walsworth said. “We never got above 27 last year. We were barely having scout team last year sometimes.”
Last week the Cowboys completed preseason preparations with a scrimmage at Sanders Valley near New Mexico.
“The kids competed hard, they got out there and got to hit somebody else and fly around a little bit, so it was exciting for them,” Walsworth said.
With such a young team the focus for the Cowboys is fundamentals.
“We gotta make sure that we’re keeping the ball off the ground,” Walsworth said. “We gotta make sure that our linemen are getting off the ball with good, low pad level. We did some good things in the scrimmage and we did some not good things in the scrimmage that we need to fix this week, in the scrimmage, same thing for defense.”
The good news for the Cowboys is that they enter the regular season relatively unscathed.
“We’re as healthy as we’re gonna be probably,” Walsworth said.
Camp Verde’s schedule features nine games, five of which are at home, including the rivalry games with Chino Valley, on Sept. 13 and Sedona Red Rock, on Sept. 27.
On Tuesday Walsworth said he wasn’t sure how good the Cowboys were.
“We’ll find out for sure on Friday,” Walsworth said. “We’re coming out and trying to get a little better everyday.”