Staff photo by Dean H. Borgwardt
Camp Verde took an early lead, but the Scorpions came back to take down the Cowboys.
"It's gotten to be a real rivalry between the Scorpions and the Cowboys, but it's a friendly rivalry," Cromartie says. "And I really like Coach Steege."
With that attitude between coaches and players, Friday's matchup between the two Verde Valley schools promised to be an exciting and close game, especially considering the fact it was Sedona’s homecoming.
But for awhile, it didn't look like it would be the friendliest of homecomings for Sedona as Camp Verde jumped to a 12-7 lead at halftime.
The second half was a different story. Camp Verde couldn't score, and Sedona did twice to claim a 20-12 win.
Both coaches knew it was going to be a close game going in. Last season, the Scorpions and Cowboys kept each other at bay until the end of the fourth quarter, when Sedona finally scored to win 6-0.
At the end of the first quarter of Friday night’s game, when the scoreboard read 0-0, it looked like history might repeat itself. So, it was almost a relief when Camp Verde got a turnover in the second quarter and converted it into the game's first touchdown. That first turn in the game came when wide receiver Travis Dixon caught a touchdown pass thrown by quarterback Teal Haycock to put Camp Verde up 6-0.
Not to be outdone, Sedona came back with a 30-yard kickoff return by running back Adam Senger. Mark Gaulden took it in for an 8-yard run halfway in the second quarter and the extra point was good.
Almost immediately, Camp Verde scored again with a touchdown pass caught by Charlie Baca, but the Cowboys failed on a two-point conversion. Both Sedona and Camp Verde had another drive left before the half, but both teams came up empty-handed.
It was the third quarter when Sedona seemed to come alive. With 42 yards gained in 10 plays, Gaulden scored again by rushing the ball. Then with five seconds left in the same quarter, Sedona's "Gaulden Boy" (also crowned Homecoming King) scored again on a rush and the extra point was good to put Sedona up for good, 20-12.
Gaulden led all rushers with 104 yards on 22 carries for three touchdowns. Gaulden also had two catches for 31 yards. Sedona quarterback Jeff Miner had 11 carries for 58 yards; Tommy Wyatt, a sophomore, had 66 yards on 10 carries; and Adam Senger had 88 yards on 15 carries.
Camp Verde staged one last major drive after regaining the ball with 3:33 in the fourth quarter. Strong running by Joey Jasman made it appear Camp Verde would make one last comeback, but an incomplete pass and a tough Scorpion killed the drive and gave Sedona the win.
With one more game left before the playoffs, Sedona’s record improves 4-4 (two of those losses came in double overtime) and Camp Verde sits at 3-5 (2-2 in the conference). Both teams have a chance for the playoffs if they can win their last games.
Sedona’s game next week is at home against River Valley. The Scorpions have won all of their home games this year, and beat River Valley last year on the road.
Camp Verde has its toughest game yet to play, against always-tough Wickenburg. Last year, the Cowboys lost to the Wranglers 20-6. Coach Luke Steege says two key players will return this week following eligibility problems and he hopes that will give his team the edge.
"Like I told them last night," said Steege, "we played a good game and did things well, and were able to throw the ball. If we play our kind of football game next week, we have a real opportunity to win."
Statistically for Camp Verde, Teal Haycock completed 6-of-15 passes for two touchdowns and 69 yards. Travis Dixon had three catches for 51 yards and a TD. Charlie Baca caught three passes for 18 yards and a TD.
Joey Jasman paced Camp Verde's rushing attack with 11 carries for 53 yards. Charlie Baca picked up 51 yards on nine carries.