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Although a second round of penalty kicks was needed to get the job done the Camp Verde High School boys soccer team de-feated the visiting Northland Preparatory Academy on Thursday, Sept. 9, 3-2 [6-5 penalty kicks].

Jake McIlvoy makes his way downfield Thursday, Sept. 9, against Northland Preparatory Academy. The Camp Verde High School boys soccer team defeated the Spartans 3-2 [6-5 penalty kicks] after the teams needed two rounds of penalty kicks.“It felt like for a while there it was never going to end,” longtime Camp Verde Head Coach Dave Miller said laughing.

Generally, two teams going to penalty kicks need only five players to shoot, but Thursday’s match called for 10 players from each team to shoot.

In the end, Camp Verde’s Jose Perez scored a goal to make it 6-5 Cowboys in the penalty kick session, and Marco Lozanilla did his job between the posts to stop Northland Preparatory’s last-ditch effort to record the victory.

With the win, the Cowboys improve to 1-1 [1-1, 1A-3A West] overall on the season. The Cowboys lost in overtime to Thunderbird Adventist Academy in the season opener Sept. 8, 2-1.

Last year, the Arizona Interscholastic Association executive board voted to pass the notion that soccer games would no longer end in a tie, with the match being solved by penalty kicks until one team broke.

On Thursday, Northland Preparatory took a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute after a diving Lozanilla couldn’t save it.
Lozanilla had 11 saves on the day, allowing only two goals on 20 shots by Northland Preparatory.

In the second half, senior Cody Gray found a crease in the 42nd minute to tie the score, 1-1. Gray wasn’t finished, however, and in the 43rd minute, he gave the Cowboys a 2-1 lead.

“I was surprised, we were down 1-0 after the first period but made some adjustments at halftime and then Cody [Gray] out of nowhere scored two quick goals,” Miller said.

After a few red cards by both teams and emotions running at an all-time high, the two teams settled back down again but it was Northland Preparatory who capitalized, scoring a goal to tie it 2-2 with just under three minute to go in the match.

Goalkeeper Marco Lozanilla allows one of two goals the Spartans scored Thursday, Sept. 9. Lozanilla recorded 11 saves on the day.Neither team could figure each other out in the two 10-minute overtime periods, leaving it tied 2-2.
Camp Verde took 19 shots on goal Thursday with only two finding the back of the net.

The 1-1 record against the 1A-3A West region this season isn’t anything to worry about this early Miller said, with everyone beating up on each other.

“This team beats that team, then this team beats that team, and it goes on and on. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in the end,” Miller said.

Teams in the 1A-3A West include Camp Verde, Northland Preparatory, Chino Valley High School, Grand Canyon High School, Verde Valley School, Thunderbird Adventist and Phoenix Country Day School.

The Cowboys were in action again Tuesday, Sept. 14, when they traveled to Phoenix Country Day. Results were unavailable at press time.

Next up for Camp Verde, the Cowboys will play in the Chino Cup Invitational, which is set to begin Friday, Sept. 17, and go through Saturday, Sept. 18.

Camp Verde will then return home Tuesday, Sept. 21, to face bitter rival Chino Valley with an official start time of 6 p.m.

The Camp Verde High School football team made it look easy Friday, Sept. 10, destroying visiting rival Sedona Red Rock High School in the process, 50-14.

With only 14 players suited up to play on the Scorpions’ sideline, the Cowboys made quick work of Sedona, scoring on their first two possessions to make it 13-0 before anyone in the stands could get a hot dog and take their seats.

Junior Quarterback Jake Spleiss tries to run over a Scorpion defender and turn it upfield Friday, Sept. 10, in a 50-14 victory for the Camp Verde High School football team. With the win, Camp Verde is 2-1 [0-0, 2A Central] overall on the season.Longtime Camp Verde Head Coach Luke Steege wasn’t completely pleased, however, with Friday night’s effort.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do. We need to improve a lot. After we scored two quick touchdowns some of the guys let up a bit and didn’t try hard so I ripped into them at halftime,” Steege said.

Steege sees the writing on the wall with a tough region schedule to come over the next two months that will make or break this year’s version of Cowboy football.

With the victory, the Cowboys improve to 2-1 [0-0, 2A Central] overall on the season and are now 2-0 at home in 2010.

Despite Steege’s worries and Camp Verde’s imperfections, the Cowboys still ran for over 400 yards on the ground.

Camp Verde was led by junior Kody Rayburn who had nine carries for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Rayburn also had one catch for 18 yards.

Senior Tanner Rezzonico had 11 carries for 102 yards and three touchdowns, helping the Cowboys run away with it in the second quarter.

Up 13-0 after one quarter of play, Camp Verde scored three touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 31-6 lead at halftime.

The only score Sedona managed in the first half was a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown by Ryan Ramirez.

Camp Verde quarterback Jake Spleiss completed only two of seven passes for 35 yards with two interceptions. Spleiss ran 10 times for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Camp Verde scored three more touchdowns in the second half, while allowing only one for Sedona in the 50-14 final.

Junior Chris Zellner led the Cowboys on defense with 14 tackles while Joe Wilson and Gavin Collins each had 13. Paul Davis and Deshon Tripp each had 11.

Defensive tackle Andy Minner had only four tackles, but had two sacks against Sedona, a season-high for the junior.

The Cowboys had three interceptions as well on defense with Tripp, Tyler Ward and Matt Miller each getting one.

“Our offensive line is improving and our kids are learning and I guess right now, that’s all I can ask for. We are fast and physical up front on defense too, so we will continue to improve on everything we can,” Steege said.

Next up, the Cowboys will travel to Arizona Lutheran Academy on Friday, Sept. 17, with a kickoff time scheduled for 7 p.m.

There might not be an easy game left on the schedule for Camp Verde this season.

The 2A Central region is stacked this year with Valley Christian Academy, Northwest Christian Academy and Scottsdale Christian Academy all receiving votes for the top team in the state. Each is ranked in the top five in the 2A conference this season.

With the 2010 season opener just around the corner for the Camp Verde High School boys soccer team, Head Coach Dave Miller believes his boys are going to be quite good this fall.

“I think we’ve got a good group of kids and should be solid this season,” Miller said at practice last week.

Jake McIlvoy works on his attack Aug. 27 at practice. McIlvoy is key to the Cowboys this season, according to Miller.When asked what he thought his chances were for a final four appearance, and perhaps even a state championship, Miller balked at the question immediately and smiled.

“I’ve had the talent before to make it that far, and we lost first round, and I’ve had a team I thought wasn’t as talented and we made it. Really, it all boils down to luck. I’d rather be lucky than good if you ask me,” Miller said in his stern approach that has earned the respect of his players for years now.

The biggest question surrounding the Cowboys this season is who will replace All-State goalkeeper Taylor Matthews between the posts in 2010.

Matthews graduated after a stellar 2009 season and will be difficult for Miller to replace.

According to the longtime head coach, however, there are a few options he thinks will work out just fine.
Junior returner Marco Lozanilla should see most of the time at goalkeeper this season for Camp Verde but waiting in the wings is freshman newcomer Chasyn Homea, who will be the backup, and has shown promise early in his career.

Top returners this season for the Cowboys include senior twin brothers Casey and Cody Gray, who should lead the offensive attack this season, while senior Jake McIlvoy could be one of the top scorers in the state when it’s all said and done.

Seniors Carlos Zavalza and Rodrigo Hernandez return this fall, while juniors Andres Orellana and Zeke O’Callaghan return as well.

Top newcomers this season include senior Roman Bux who joined the team this August looking to try a new sport, and help himself get ready for wrestling in the winter.

Freshman Chasyn Honea has impressed Camp Verde High School boys soccer Head Coach Dave Miller so far this season and is the future goalkeeper for the Cowboys).Along with Bux, sophomores Justin Ray, Oscar Lopez and L.J. Teague have made the varsity squad. Ray is a defender while Teague looks to play midfield somewhere for the Cowboys this season.

Another freshman besides Homea making the cut was Edgar Aguayo who should play midfield for Miller, but it is unclear whether the young star will be in more of a backup role this fall.

In 2009, Camp Verde went 15-6-2 overall and qualified for the 1A-3A conference state playoffs, defeating Holbrook High School in the first round, 2-0. In round two, Camp Verde fell to Desert Christian Academy in a thriller, 1-0.

The 2010 state championship is likely to go through Blue Ridge High School again which scored 17 goals and went 4-0 in 2009 to claim the title.

Camp Verde opens the regular season at home Thursday, Sept. 9, when they play host to Northland Preparatory Academy at 6 p.m.

The Cowboys hit the road after that but return to Camp Verde to host bitter rival Chino Valley High School on Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 6 p.m.

Camp Verde will end the season at home facing Phoenix Country Day School and Grand Canyon High School in preparation for the state tournament which is scheduled to begin Friday, Oct. 29, at Red Mountain Park in Mesa.

Starting over is never easy but that’s exactly what the Camp Verde High School cross country team will be doing this season under third-year Head Coach Mike O’Callaghan.

The Cowboys return only two runners from last year’s 2009 squad and have enough new faces to make anyone’s head spin.

the cowboys cross country team at Camp Verde High School gets a workout Thursday, Aug. 26. The Cowboys lost nearly everyone who ran on varsity in 2009. With the new realignment plan from the Arizona Interscholastic Association beginning this fall, it may be an interesting season for Camp Verde. Head Coach Mike O’Callaghan enters his third year at the helm for Camp Verde.Camp Verde lost six of the seven boys who ran cross country to graduation in 2009.

Four of the top five girls for the Cowboys also left, one of whom moved out of Camp Verde and three whose families decided to home-school them.

According to O’Callaghan, however, he’s excited as ever.

“We’ve got a lot of kids out this season, more so than in the past and it will be fun to watch them all run this season,” O’Callaghan said.

Camp Verde didn’t have a cross country program for the longest time until the Cowboys returned to the trails in 2008.

According to Athletic Director Mark Showers, Camp Verde didn’t have a cross country program when he arrived in 1994. The school tried to start one in 2005, but made it halfway through the season before injuries and too few kids made the powers that be cancel the program.

This season, junior Cassy Alvarez returns after a great run in 2009, no pun intended, qualifying for the 1A-2A conference state championship meet last November.

Alvarez finished 47th overall as a sophomore with a 24:32.01 time. Alvarez is the only girl with state experience returning from last season.

Junior Karry Gillman didn’t participate in cross country last year but could be considered a returner since she qualified for the state meet as a freshman in 2008 for the Cowboys.

The other half of the returning class from 2009 belongs to boys team senior Johnny Hudson.

Hudson finished 110th overall as a junior with a 23:23.03 time in the state championship meet and is the only returning boy who ran at state last season.

Hudson was a part of the Camp Verde team that finished 12th overall at state last season with 317 total points scored as a team.

Hopi High School nailed another state championship banner to its gymnasium wall in 2009 with 27 points. It is estimated that in the last 20 years, Hopi has won anywhere from 14 to 17 state championships in cross country.

If Gillman can be considered a returner then senior A.J. Gonzalez should be as well. Gonzalez took a break in 2009, but raced with the cross country team in 2008 as a sophomore.

Top newcomers for the girls this season include juniors Wynonna Buysse and Tiffanie Oium while sophomore
Sarah Westervelt is running as well.

Freshmen Laura Montano, Jina Stevens and Amber Yocum are also on the list of top newcomers this season for O’Callaghan.

For the boys, top newcomers include seniors Mariano Trinidad and Dakota Yazzi along with junior Brian Hudson, sophomore Cody Valencia and freshmen Joey Benson, Cody Cullen and Ryan Malloy.

“We’ve got a lot of good meets to go to this season and I think we can have a few kids on both the boys and girls teams to qualify for state,” O’Callaghan said.

The Cowboys begin their season Wednesday, Sept. 8, when they travel to participate in the Payson Invitational.

Camp Verde will also participate in the bigger meets like the Four Corners Invitational at Buffalo Park in Flagstaff on Saturday, Sept. 18, and, of course, the big Mingus Mountain Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 2.

The state meet is scheduled Saturday, Nov. 6, at the Cave Creek Golf Course in Phoenix.

Having lost 11 seniors to graduation in 2009, the Camp Verde High School football team will be depending on many newcomers in 2010 if it is to have a successful season.

Head Coach Luke Steege gives instructions to his team during pregame warm-ups in Payson on Friday, Aug. 20. Steege believes his Camp Verde High School football team could be 7-3 this season.The Cowboys return only five starters to the offense that put up record numbers through the first four games last season and return only four on defense.

Through the first month of the season in 2009, the Cowboys were 4-0 and well on their way to a possible final four appearance in the 2A conference state playoffs but one injury derailed Camp Verde, and they finished 2-5 the rest of the way.

Quarterback Mike Boler, who injured his shoulder after leading his team to a perfect 4-0 start, missed the rest of the season and the Cowboys were never the same.

Camp Verde finished 6-5 after losing to No. 6 Scottsdale Christian Academy in the first round of the state playoffs, 31-14.

Boler was among the 11 graduated seniors in 2009, so this season, the Cowboys will be looking to replace him at quarterback.

During the Payson High School scrimmage Friday, Aug. 20, Camp Verde Head Coach Luke Steege got a look at two quarterbacks vying for the starting nod in junior Jake Spleiss and sophomore Kyle Lobaugh.

Junior Deshon Tripp is also a part of the discussion at the quarterback position this season, but didn’t play much Friday due to injury.

The Cowboys hung tough with the Longhorns who are expected to finish in the top four in the 3A East region.

Spleiss received most of the playing time in 2009 after Boler got hurt, but don’t be surprised if Tripp gets a hard look come Friday, Aug. 27, when Camp Verde opens the season on the road against rival Chino Valley High School.

If Steege can help it, he said he would like to keep mostly juniors and seniors on the varsity squad, giving younger players wearing the freshman or sophomore tag experience at junior varsity.

Quarterback Jake Spleiss warms up before the Payson High School scrimmage game Friday, Aug. 20.If Steege’s wishes come true, that may rule out Lobaugh under center at quarterback this season at the varsity level, even though he has the biggest arm of the trio and seems most comfortable at the position.

Moving away from the Brett Favre-like drama at quarterback, the Cowboys have plenty of returners looking to do well in 2010.

Senior running back Tanner Rezzonico was named on the preseason watch list in The Arizona Republic last week while senior Austin Bower hopes to have a good year at cornerback.

Senior Cameron Stewart should anchor the offensive line this season while junior David Stanley plays offensive and defensive line this season.

Steege believes the strength of this particular Cowboys team will be the defense.

“We’ve got a bunch of guys out there who can’t wait to hit someone. I like what I saw at Payson over the weekend and I think if we can play good defense, we’ll be in games this season,” Steege said.

Steege is predicting a 7-3 season for the Cowboys this year with the talent they have but could be 8-2 or 6-4 depending on how things go.

One thing is for sure, the Cowboys are loaded with juniors this season, sporting 17 total in the program.

Cameron Stewart comes up from a three-point stance during pregame warm-ups in Payson. Stewart will anchor the  offensive line this season.Newcomers include juniors Cody Rayburn, Tyler Ward, Andy Minner, Josh Collins, Joe Wilson, Gavin Collins and Chandler Main.

Junior Chris Zellner is also in that group but with the head injury he suffered in the spring after getting hit in the head with a shot put during track and field season, the doctors have yet to clear him for football.

“He has an MRI coming soon and we’ll know within the next week or two if he’s going to be able to play,” Steege said.

Another player Steege said to keep an eye on is Rayburn, who grew five inches and gained 30 pounds over the summer.

No longer a skinny center fielder for the baseball team that made it to the 2A conference state finals in the spring, Rayburn, should be a playmaker this season for the Cowboys football team.

The Cowboys will look to run the spread offense this season since they’re light up front between the tackles, but don’t be surprised if the old Jet Sweep comes into play now and again in 2010.

After the season opener against Chino Valley, the Cowboys will return home and host Canyon State Academy on Friday, Sept. 3.

Sam Maynard delivers a pitch during a team practice.At the Reach 11 Sports Complex in Paradise Valley last week, the Camp Verde All-Stars [ages 10 to 11] struggled, losing two games in two days and were bounced from the Arizona Little League State Championships.

“We’re playing against teams that are club teams. Teams that play year-round. I’m proud of our boys for what they’ve accomplished and that we got here to begin with,” Camp Verde coach Nathan Jackson said.

On July 19, Camp Verde did what it could but was overpowered by a much stronger Chandler National South All-Star team and lost, 15-4.

The next day, the Camp Verde All-Stars squared off against the Deer Valley All-Stars knowing full well if they lost, they were done.

Starting pitcher Beau Bullard toed the mound July 20 for his Camp Verde All-Stars looking to shut down the Deer Valley bats but got himself into trouble in the bottom of the first inning, giving up five runs.

Up 5-0, Deer Valley was able to keep a lid on Camp Verde’s offense for five innings, Wyatt Howe looks to throw in a pitch from the outfield. The Camp Verde All-Stars [ages 10 to 11] went 0-2 at the Arizona Little League State Championships on July 19 and 20.taking an 8-0 lead after scoring two in the bottom of the fifth.

Camp Verde scored four runs in the top half of the sixth to cut the lead, 8-4.

Unfortunately for Camp Verde, the run ended there and after the last out was recorded, Camp Verde knew it was over.

“It was a great season. Each of our coaches and parents saw how much these kids improved from the beginning of the season to now. Again, like I said, I was really proud of them,” Jackson said.

Bullard went 3? innings pitched, giving up six runs on seven hits and four walks while striking out one.

Relief pitcher Ryan Cain was a bit better, pitching 1? innings while giving up three runs on three hits and striking out three.

At the plate for Camp Verde, second baseman Wyatt Howe had a big base hit to score two runs during the sixth inning rally and was 1-3 on the day.

Left fielder Patrick Hood was 0-1 with two walks while first baseman Ezequiel Casillas was 1-3 with a run scored.

beau bullard gets a few practice throws in a few days before the Camp Verde All-Stars [ages 10 to 11] traveled to Paradise Valley to participate in the Arizona Little League State Championships. Bullard gave up six runs and four walks in his start against the Deer Valley, 8-4.“They didn’t come out of this tournament with their heads down. They proved themselves this year on and off the field and we’re all excited for what is to come in 2011,” Jackson said.

??After suffering their first loss of the District 10 Little League All-Star Tournament on Friday, July 2, the Camp Verde All-Stars [ages 10 to 11] took care of business Saturday, July 3, defeating the Verde Valley All-Stars in game two of the championship series, 19-5.

The Camp Verde All-Stars, ages 10 to 11, gather to take a photo after claiming the District 10 championship after defeating the Verde Valley All-Stars on Saturday, July 3, 19-5. Camp Verde finished the District 10 Little League All-Star Tournament with a 4-1 record.Heading into the tournament championship with a 4-0 record, Verde Valley found a way to get to Camp Verde and beat them 11-4 in front of a good home crowd at Butler Park in Camp Verde.

Camp Verde wouldn’t go quietly, however, in the tournament’s final day.

“This is what you play for, one game for it all,” Camp Verde skipper Nate Jackson said.

Saturday’s starting pitcher Ezequiel Casillas was above average, pitching four innings while allowing five runs on eight hits, walking only one and striking out four.

If his 76 pitches weren’t nerve-racking enough, the offense for Camp Verde certainly was as the boys collected only seven hits but worked 11 walks.

“The kid just couldn’t find the strike zone and our boys were patient enough to get the job done,” Jackson said.
Coming up big for Camp Verde was catcher John Castillo who was 2-2 with two walks and three RBIs.

Castillo scored two runs as well and was smack dab in the middle of the 11-run rally Camp Verde put on Verde Valley in the bottom of the third inning.

Camp Verde found itself down 2-0 after the top of the first but in the bottom of the second the offense kicked in for eight runs to take an 8-2 lead.

After Verde Valley scored three in the top of the third to make it an 8-5 affair, Camp Verde put the nail in the coffin with 11 runs in the bottom half of the inning to make it a 19-5 final.

Shortstop Beau Bullard had a solid day at the dish as well, going 2-2 with a walk, a triple, three runs scored and two RBIs.

The District 10 champions will enjoy their title with a few weeks of practice in an effort to get ready for the Arizona Little League All-Star State Tournament which is scheduled to begin Monday, July 19, in Paradise Valley.

Camp Verde will face the District 13 champion at 5:30 p.m.

With all the glory, prestige and credit that comes with the athletic programs at high schools, there’s always one man behind the curtain making sure everything goes smoothly.

One might call the athletic director position at any high school a thankless job, and for that, it’s time to recognize our silent leaders.

Mark Showers took the job as athletic director of Camp Verde High School in 1996. Showers won the Arizona Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Award of Merit in 2008. Showers is also the dean of students at CVHS and girls head basketball coach.For 47-year-old Camp Verde High School Athletic Director Mark Showers, his tenure in Camp Verde as athletic director began in 1996.

A 1981 graduate of CVHS, Showers attended what was then called Grand Canyon College, and received his degree with a double major in physical education and psychology.

A four-year letter winner in basketball and baseball at CVHS, Showers played junior varsity baseball at Grand Canyon and two years of varsity basketball during his junior and senior year before graduating in 1985.

“I love sports. It’s funny because my parents were into the arts, music and drama, but I spent more time in athletics,” Showers said laughing.

Showers returned to the small town he grew up in looking to not only be athletic director, but wear the dean of students and girls basketball coach hats as well.

“I’ve wanted to coach basketball since I was 11 or 12. I enjoy working with the kids and having a positive effect on their lives. We all like to win, but the preparation to do so can teach valuable life lessons to young people,” Showers said.

In 2008, Showers was recognized by the Arizona Interscholastic Athletic Administrator Association, receiving the state Award of Merit for a job well done as athletic director.

Only one person receives this award every year out of all high schools in Arizona.

The award was no surprise to those around the Verde Valley who work with Showers on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

Verde Valley School Athletic Director Matt Moran has an interesting take on the man from Camp Verde.

“Mark [Showers] has helped me out a lot. He’s really been there for me and he brought me along when I was beginning this gig as athletic director,” Moran said.

Of course, Mike Boysen, athletic director at Mingus Union High School, and John Parks, the athletic director at Sedona Red Rock High School, also feel the same way.

As for Showers, he appreciates the relationships he’s built within the athletic director field, stating Parks has been most helpful to him. The two men have been in the same region together for many years in the 3A-West.

CVHS and SRRHS are similar in size as well, making it an easy athletic contest for both schools to play against one another.

“I’ve received help from all of these athletic directors around the Verde Valley. It’s been quite a relationship we’ve all built with one another,” Showers said.

When it’s all said and done, Showers will probably have a few more AIAAA awards sitting on his mantel, but the lives he’s touched will always outweigh any award he receives.

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