With a new coach and a new philosophy, the Camp Verde football team made strides toward building a more powerful program this season.
Coach Steve Darby, who had spent the previous four years as an assistant and junior varsity coach at Mingus Union High School, was hired to guide to guide the program last spring and Darby immediately began implementing the changes that should make the Cowboys an increasingly more competitive team in the future.
Although, on paper, the Cowboys’ 3-7 win-loss record may not look like an overwhelming success, it was two wins more than they had the previous season, and success cannot always be measured in terms of wins and losses.
“Although our record did not meet our expectations, in many ways it was a successful season,” Darby said. “An important goal of mine was to use football as a platform to teach life lessons in preparing these young men how to handle life’s many challenges and situations, which we did.
“I couldn’t have asked for better kids, they all had great attitudes and supported each other — there were many positives.”
The Cowboys produced big wins this season over Paradise Honors 43-0 and Greyhills Academy 45-0, also grinding out a tough 21-13 road win at Lee Williams. There were also close losses, to Sedona Red Rock 15-13 and a season-ending loss to Willcox 25-20.
Part of the challenge in any team sport is the learning curve involved when players are introduced to new concepts, which Darby said was an issue with this year’s team.
“I knew introducing a new offense and defense would be difficult to implement, and this process presented more challenges than I anticipated,” he said. “In hindsight, I should have introduced less plays and worked on perfecting those fewer plays. When we did this later in the season we seemed to have more success.
“The hope is next year we will have established a good base to build upon.”
For the full story, please see the Wednesday, Nov. 13, issue of the Camp Verde Journal.