Wed, April 08

Camp Verde football hosts youth camp
Former CVHS head coach Steve Darby returns as Cowboys’ defensive coordinator

Campers play a touch football game on Wednesday night at the Camp Verde Football Camp. VVN/James Kelley

Campers play a touch football game on Wednesday night at the Camp Verde Football Camp. VVN/James Kelley

Camp Verde held its annual football and cheer camp this week, which saw the return of a familiar face.

The camp was for kids ages six to 14 and ran from Tuesday to Thursday. CVHS football players and coaches ran the football portion of the camp, including defensive coordinator Steve Darby, who returned to coach at his alma mater.

“I love it, Camp Verde’s home,” Darby said about coaching at CV again. “I went to high school here, played football here and it’s nice to be home.”

Darby was Camp Verde High’s head coach from 2013 to early 2016 when he was placed on administrative leave.

Camp Verde head coach Rick Walsworth said it is great to have Darby on staff.

“Steve loves football and he loves Camp Verde football and he’s a Camp Verde alum and knows everybody in town, so it’s been a really good thing to have Steve and his energy for Camp Verde around,” Walsworth said.

Darby graduated from Camp Verde in 1980 and is a retired firefighter and paramedic who is a Career Technical Education teacher in fire science at Valley Academy.

“I didn’t plan on coaching here this year,” Darby said. “This spring we were here for a (injury protocol) presentation and coach Walsworth approached me and asked me if I’d be interested in coaching here and I said ‘yeah let me think about it’ and decided to and the staff here they cleared me, the board cleared me and here I am.”

Darby most recently coached at Mingus Union and previously coached with Walsworth on offense on the 2009 Marauder team that

went 12-1 and scored 521 points.

“So I know Rick, I know he’s a good coach, he’s a good guy and I’m excited to coach with him, we get along very well,” Darby said.

At the camp, the young players went through drills that we led by the high school Cowboys with Walsworth, Darby and Camp Verde Coyote coaches offering instruction as well. At the end of the camp each day the campers played each other in touch football games.

“It’s been going well, got a lot of kids out here having fun and getting some work in and everybody’s staying safe, so we’re having a successful camp,” Walsworth said.

The Cowboy freshman and sophomore players wore blue jerseys and the juniors and seniors white jerseys on Wednesday at camp.

“We started pretty slim on kids but we’re consistently getting over 20 kids a night so things are going well,” Darby said. “We’re young, coach Walsworth probably already told you that but we’ve got a lot of good athletes, so a lot to build on.”

The Cowboys will start official practices on Monday and their season opener is Aug. 30 against Scottsdale Prep at home, a week later than many of the teams’ first games.

“Our first official day we can practice is Monday so we’ll see how many guys we get out,” Walsworth said. “We don’t have an early scrimmage so we actually got an extra week of practice then, than teams that are practicing and scrimmaging early, that are playing in week zero, we’re not playing until the first week of the official season. So we got a little extra time to play with. So we’re only going to go three days next week and then we’ll start full (on Aug. 5), once school starts.”

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