New Camp Verde coach Walsworth no stranger to local football

Camp Verde head coach Rick Walsworth coaches the Cowboy linemen during practice on Tuesday. VVN/James Kelley

Camp Verde head coach Rick Walsworth coaches the Cowboy linemen during practice on Tuesday. VVN/James Kelley

New Camp Verde High football coach Rick Walsworth has completed the Verde Valley/Sedona football trifecta.

Walsworth has now coached at all three local AIA high schools. Walsworth took the reigns of the program this summer after Jerome Rhoades resigned.

Walsworth was an assistant coach at Mingus Union from 2003 to 2009 and then 2014 to 2016. He was Sedona Red Rock’s head coach for four seasons until 2014 and then returned to the Scorpions as an assistant last season.

“It wasn’t anything I planned to do, I just sort of happened that way,” Walsworth said about coaching at all three schools.

So far the Cowboys, who started fall practice on Monday, have impressed him.

“It’s always good to have a new challenge and the first two days have been great,” Walsworth said. “We’ve had 20 guys that have been cleared and that are out here practicing and just working hard. It’s been enjoyable. We’ve got some good guys to work with and some good guys to coach.”

During his head coaching tenure at Sedona Red Rock, Walsworth led the Scorpions to the playoffs in 2012, their first appearance in a decade and two winning records. The Scorpions were 2-9 his first season.

During his time at Mingus Union, the Marauders reached the state title game twice. He was offensive coordinator there under Bob Young starting in 2006.

Walsworth coached Mingus Union head coach Robert Ortiz in high school

“Honestly coach Wals is one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met,” Ortiz said. “If it wasn’t for him I probably wouldn’t have gotten into coaching, him and coach Young both. I was his TA when he was a teacher and a coach here and that’s kinda where I was able to put my IQ and his train of thinking as a coach together and kinda really get the big picture on things.”

The Cowboys will run a flexbone/triple option offense and an odd front defense, what he ran at Mingus Union and Sedona Red Rock.

In 2007 Mingus Union averaged 44 points a game and went 13-1.

“As far as what he’s trying to do over there, I think it’s great, we’ve been in contact a little bit here and there I know during his time at Mingus we had some of the most prolific offenses in school history under his time here,” Ortiz said. “So I think they’re fortunate enough to get a guy like that who was able to stick around in the Verde Valley.”

Walsworth said he thinks that experience with Sedona Red Rock, which plays in the same conference as Camp Verde, will help out.

Last year Mingus Union had 46 players on their final roster, while Camp Verde had 28 and Sedona Red Rock 27. In the census that the AIA used to align for 2018-2020, Camp Verde had 497 students and Sedona Red Rock 393.

“The numbers is definitely an adjustment going straight from bigger schools to smaller schools,” Walsworth said. “You got fewer kids to pull from. It’s something I did before I sorta knew what to expect coming in, I’m really happy with the number of guys we’ve had out the first two days, I can always use more but…”

Walsworth was impressed with Camp Verde last year. The Cowboys upset then No. 18 Paradise Honors 21-14 and beat Sedona Red Rock 30-14.

“When you’re at small schools you’re not gonna have the same year every year because your numbers are just different and your talent level is different and coach Rhoades did a great job with what they had on the field last year,” Walsworth said. “They pulled off a big upset against Paradise Honors in the middle of the season and I think they ended up second in the region.”

Walsworth went to the University of Arkansas and his first head coaching job was at Hackett High School in the Razorback State in 2001.

“They have a saying in the South that there’s two sports: there’s football and spring football,’” Walsworth said. “It’s not as important overall but people still love their football here and there’s enthusiasm and we got guys that want to come out here and work hard, so that’s all we can ask for.”

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