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Mon, Feb

The inaugural Camp Verde Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 1, brought only three other high schools to compete with the Cowboys but Head Coach Mike O’Callaghan said they have to start somewhere.

Amber Yocum tears down the last hill at the inaugural Camp Verde Invitational. Yocum placed fifth overall but was the first runner from the Camp Verde girls team to cross the finish line.“Overall, it was a good day. The course was well received, and all the coaches said it was a good race and they’re looking forward to coming back,” O’Callaghan said.

Senior Cave Colton from Apache Junction High School won the race Saturday, finishing first overall with an 18:40 time.

The 18:40 time will be a benchmark for future runners who compete in this race, O’Callaghan said. The Camp Verde High School cross-country team plans to host this meet every season.

The first Camp Verde runner to cross the finish line for the boys was sophomore Joey Benson, who finished 10th overall with a 22:13 time. He was fourth among sophomores competing in the race.

Next up was senior Johnny Hudson, who was 17th overall with a 24:20 time, while freshman Michael Malloy was 20th overall with a 26:30 time.

Freshman Max Evans came in 22nd overall with a 27:38, and sophomore teammate Ryan Mallow was 23rd with a 27:40 time.

In the girls race, sophomore Amber Yocum took fifth overall with a 27:10 time while senior teammate Cassie Alvarez was behind her in sixth with a 27:51 time. Sophomore Shelby Monroe was seventh overall with a 28:18 time.

Apache Junction senior Caitlin Kressler won the inaugural meet Saturday for the girls, finishing first overall with a 23:39 time.

“It was a challenging course having to run through Butler Park but it looked like everyone enjoyed themselves,” O’Callaghan said.

Saturday’s meet signaled the halfway point of the 2011 season for Camp Verde, which will participate in the Arizona Lutheran Invitational on Wednesday, Oct. 12.

The next closest event Camp Verde fans will be able to see their Cowboys in is the Yavapai County Championships at Antelope Hills Golf Course in Prescott on Wednesday, Oct. 19.

The Yavapai County Championships are scheduled to start at 2 p.m.

In the midst of a three-match losing streak, the Cowboys soccer team recorded a forfeit victory Thursday, Sept. 22, when Thunderbird Academy High School decided not to compete.

Marcos Lozanilla gets held back by a Northland Preparatory Academy player during a rough home match on Sept. 20.“Our athletic director told us they couldn’t make it, so we’ll focus on the next match,” longtime Camp Verde High School boys soccer Head Coach Dave Miller said.

A reason was not given by press time as to why Thunderbird forfeited the game, but Miller was less concerned about a forfeit victory and has his sights set on the next match.

After starting 4-2 overall this season with wins over Thunderbird Academy [2-0] and Grand Canyon High School [2-0], the Cowboys have slipped a bit and are 1-3 in their last four matches.

Before the forfeit victory, Camp Verde lost tough matches to Phoenix Country Day School [2-1] on Sept. 15, Chino Valley High School [5-2] on Sept. 17 and at home to Northland Preparatory Academy [2-1] on Sept. 20.

The Cowboys are 5-5 overall this season but are only 2-3 in Arizona Interscholastic Association power point matches. With a 2-3 record, Camp Verde is ranked No. 12 in the Division IV AIA power point polls, which were released Monday, Sept. 26.

Camp Verde’s latest loss to Northland Preparatory on Sept. 20 came against a team that is 5-2 and ranked No. 2 in Division IV.

The Cowboys were in action again Tuesday, Sept. 27, as they played host to Payson High School. The Longhorns are also 2-3 overall this season but are ranked No. 9. Results were unavailable at press time.

Next up, Camp Verde will travel to the Old Pueblo Tournament which runs Friday, Sept. 30, through Saturday, Oct. 1.

The Cowboys won’t be home again until Friday, Oct. 14, when they play host to Grand Canyon with an official start time of 4 p.m.

With nearly 1,000 yards of total offense between the two teams Friday, Sept. 16, the Cowboys managed to slip past host Chino Valley High School, 55-38.

Kody Rayburn tries to get away from a few Scottsdale Christian High School tacklers Aug. 26. The Camp Verde High School football team traveled to Chino Valley High School on Friday, Sept. 16, and came away with a 55-38 victory. Rayburn had 19 carries for 219 yards and four touchdowns against the Cougars on Friday, one of the best performances of his career.The win improves the Camp Verde High School football team’s record to a perfect 4-0 to begin the 2011 season. The victory moves the Cowboys to the top spot in Division V, according to the Arizona Interscholastic Association power point polls.

“If you are a fan of offense, this was the game for you. There was no defense on either side. They couldn’t stop us, and we couldn’t stop them,” longtime Camp Verde Head Coach Luke Steege said.

Being ranked No. 1 in Division V is nothing to balk at, but Steege said if the Cowboys expect to stay there, they’ll have to play much better defense than they did Friday night.

Camp Verde had 526 total yards of offense against Chino Valley, but allowed the Cougars starting quarterback Joshua Custodio to find open receivers like he was Aaron Rodgers.

“We had several chances for interceptions and just couldn’t catch it,” Steege said. “This kid lit us up.”

Custodio was 15 of 35 for 335 yards and four touchdowns.

“We didn’t prepare for him to throw 35 passes, but it sure was effective,” Steege added.

Camp Verde had its own answer for Custodio wearing No. 20 as Kody Rayburn had 19 carries for 219 yards and four touchdowns. He added two catches for 18 yards as well.

Quarterback Deshon Tripp had a good night, completing seven of 11 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown while throwing only one interception. He had 14 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown.

Camp Verde led 28-19 at halftime, but the Cougars outscored the Cowboys 13-7 in the third quarter to trail only 35-32 heading into the fourth.

The Cowboys put things away for good in the final period by scoring three touchdowns and outscoring Chino Valley, 20-6.

Other top performances for the Cowboys included Chris Zellner, who had 10 carries for 46 yards and a score while adding two tackles and one sack on defense. Gavin Collins had 10 tackles to lead the Cowboys.

Next up, Camp Verde will take its perfect 4-0 start to cross-valley rival Sedona Red Rock High School on Friday, Sept. 23.

Sedona started the 2011 season with an 0-2 record but has since won two games in a row, outscoring its opponents in that time frame 93-28 to bring its record even at 2-2.

The Scorpions haven’t won back-to-back games since the 2005 season, the last year that Head Coach Jim Cromartie walked the sidelines.

With Camp Verde sitting at No. 1 and the Scorpions at No. 12 in the AIA power point polls, it should be a good matchup for both squads, according to Steege.

“Hopefully we can stop their option offense. They’re pretty good at it now,” Steege said.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Longtime Head Coach Dave Miller said in the preseason the Cowboys’ success would depend on how good a start the boys got in the first two weeks of the season.

How does 4-2 sound?

Lorrin Franklin works his way upfield Thursday, Sept. 8, against Thunderbird Adventist Academy. Franklin and the Cowboys went on to beat Thunderbird, 2-0.The Camp Verde High School boys soccer team recorded its fourth straight shutout Friday, Sept. 9, defeating Grand Canyon High School, 2-0.

“I think we’ve had really solid goal-keeping to begin our season,” Miller said. “The defense always comes around first at this time of year. We’re playing well.”

The Cowboys recorded 29 total shots, 12 of which were on goal in the 2-0 victory.

In the eighth minute, sophomore Jesse Alvey scored to put his Cowboys up 1-0. In the second half, junior Justin Reay scored in the 49th minute, putting Camp Verde up for good, 2-0.

Sophomore goalkeeper Andy Woodward recorded six saves in the first half, but was removed at halftime due to minor illness, according to Miller.

Senior captain Michael Cassillas took over for Woodward, but was fairly bored most of the second half due to Camp Verde’s domination offensively in the second 40 minutes of play.

“They had a pretty big goalkeeper, and we just couldn’t finish the ball, not unlike the Thunderbird match the day before,” Miller said.

On Thursday, Sept. 8, Camp Verde hosted Thunderbird Adventist Academy, winning 2-0. Alvey again scored a goal for the Cowboys on the far post in the first half while senior Andres Orellana scored the second goal in the 70th minute.

Camp Verde began the season with a pair of losses to Desert Christian [3-0] and Blue Ridge [2-1] high schools at the Chino Cup Invitational on Sept. 2.

Since the second day of the tournament, however, Camp Verde hasn’t lost. The Cowboys shut out Chino Valley High School, 1-0, and beat Grand Canyon, 1-0, to start their consecutive shutout streak.

Next up, Camp Verde is scheduled to travel to Phoenix Country Day School on Thursday, Sept. 15, with an official start time of 6 p.m.

The next home match for the Cowboys is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 20, against Northland Preparatory Academy.

The cross-country program at Camp Verde High School slowly continues to crawl forward in its fourth year in existence.

The Cowboys cross-country team is ready to take on the world this fall. Camp Verde High School opened the 2011 season Wednesday, Sept. 7, in Payson.“We have the largest group out in the four years we’ve been running,” Camp Verde Head Coach Mike O’Callaghan said. “Our kids look a little stronger than last year, and they are all looking forward to the start of the season.”

Camp Verde had cross-country for years, but the program came to an end after the 1996 season. That year, Camp Verde senior Chris Duncan won a state title for the Cowboys. Duncan went on to run cross-country for Florida State University.

Camp Verde attempted to revamp the program in 2006, but Athletic Director Mark Showers had to cancel the season halfway through due to injuries and not enough participants.

This year, practice for the Cowboys began Aug. 8, giving Camp Verde just over four weeks to prepare for its first meet in the Payson Invitational on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

Camp Verde has 15 runners out for competition this fall. For the boys, top returners include seniors Brian and Johnny Hudson along with junior Cody Valencia, and sophomores Joey Benson and Ryan Malloy.

“Cody [Valencia] looks a lot stronger than he did a year ago. He could be one of our top guys this year for sure,” O’Callaghan said.

O’Callaghan added the depth for the boys will help during meets this season with Benson and Malloy challenging the older runners this season for a top position.

Top newcomers for the boys include three freshmen that O’Callaghan couldn’t stop talking about during the interview. The freshman trio include Michael Malloy, Tomas Paxton and Max Evans.

For the girls, senior Cassie Alvarez leads the way looking to improve on her stellar junior season for the Cowboys.

Sophomore Amber Yocum also returns and should pair nicely with Alvarez as a one-two punch for Camp Verde this fall.

Top newcomers for the Camp Verde girls include juniors Brittany Kelly and Brianna Rivera, along with sophomore Shelby Monroe.

“Our girls want to continue to improve, and they will work hard to do so,” O’Callaghan said.

One of the biggest notes O’Callaghan wanted to make sure to pass along is the Cowboys will host their first home meet in the last four seasons.

The Camp Verde Invitational is scheduled to take place Saturday, Oct. 1, with a set start time of 8:30 a.m.

“We need any help we can get for volunteers; just call the school if you’re interested,” O’Callaghan said.

The bigger meets this season for Camp Verde include the Four Corners Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 17, and the Yavapai County Championships on Wednesday, Oct. 19.

The Section I [Division IV] Championships are Friday, Oct. 28, at Buffalo Park in Flagstaff. The Division IV State Championships will be held at the Cave Creek Golf Course in Phoenix on Saturday, Nov. 5.

With mostly juniors playing every down in 2010, the 2011 version of the Camp Verde High School football team is loaded with senior talent looking to not only make the state playoffs, but make a run at a title.

The Cowboys boast a mature and experienced football team for the 2011 season including, clockwise from left, Deshon Tripp, Jake Spleiss, Chris Zellner, Kody Rayburn and David Stanley, just five of the 17 seniors ready to start the season with a home game against Scottsdale Christian High School on Friday, Aug. 26.The Cowboys finished the 2010 campaign with a 6-6 overall record, winning their first game over Pusch Ridge High School in the first round of the 2A conference state playoffs, 35-7.

The next week, Camp Verde struggled, losing to St. Johns High School in the quarterfinals, 28-14.

Senior Kody Rayburn is one of the top running backs in Division V football this season, and he could have a big senior year for the Camp Verde High School football team in 2011.Longtime Camp Verde Head Coach Luke Steege believes this year’s team is loaded with experience at almost every position in the starting lineup, making for an interesting preseason outlook for the Cowboys.

“We basically have our top quarterback, running back, receiver and four of the five offensive linemen back on the field this season,” Steege said.

Starting with senior quarterback Deshon Tripp, the Cowboys should have nine, maybe 10 senior starters on offense.

Tripp was a second team All-Region quarterback last season, completing 47 of 86 passes for 706 yards and eight touchdowns while rushing 119 times for 555 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Camp Verde’s dual-threat quarterback is one of the main reasons why the Cowboys will be tough to stop on offense.

Other top returners on offense include senior running back Kody Rayburn, who had 810 yards rushing and five touchdowns in 2010 while senior wide receiver Gavin Collins had 16 catches for 326 yards and three touchdowns. Rayburn was a second team All-Region performer in 2010.

Senior Jake Spleiss returns to play receiver and third-string quarterback in 2011. As for the offensive line, seniors Josh Collins, Joe Wilson, Andy Minner and Chandler Maine all return and should start for Steege.

As for the defense, many of the Cowboys will play both ways, according to Steege, but senior safety Seth Terry and senior cornerback Tyler Ward stand out this season as players to watch in 2011.

Stanley is one of the many who will play both ways, but he was selected a first team All-Region defensive tackle in 2010 and Cowboys fans can bet on getting that type of effort out of him again this fall.

Steege believes all of his players are bigger, and stronger, than they were last season thanks to a solid off-season training program in the weight room.

“We had a lot of seniors this off-season give us a good weight room turnout, and we are much bigger and stronger than before,” Steege said.

The preseason camp in Seligman was a big help too, according to Steege, with 20-plus boys sleeping on the gymnasium floor and assistant coaches blowing the whistle at 5:30 a.m. every morning for four days.

As for the schedule, the Cowboys get started right away with a home game against Scottsdale Christian High School to open the season Friday, Aug. 26.

Other home games include visits from Williams, Cortez, Greyhills Academy and Mingus Union high schools. Road games include Payson, Chino Valley, Sedona Red Rock, Tempe Preparatory Academy and Northwest Christian high schools.

“It’s not going to be easy, but we’ll make it work. We have a good team, and we’ll be ready,” Steege said.

If the Cowboys do well enough in the regular season, they should qualify for the playoffs as one of 24 teams making the Division V state playoffs.

Camp Verde sits in Section I [Division V], but it plays only three of the 11 teams within its section this season including Greyhills, Sedona and Williams.

Favorites to make the final four this season include Northwest Christian, St. Johns, Valley Christian and, of course, Camp Verde.

“It’s a long season. We’ll just start with the first game and go from there,” Steege said.

Mayra Perez keeps the ball at a comfortable height with a bump during Camp Verde High School volleyball team practice Friday, Aug. 12. The Cowboys open the 2011 season at Mingus Union High School on Tuesday, Aug. 30.After three seasons of futility, the Camp Verde High School volleyball team pieced things together in 2010, going 15-15 overall to qualify for the 2A conference state playoffs.

Now in her third season as head coach, Darcy Evans is hoping to equal the team’s success in 2010 and take the next step in 2011.

“We pretty much have the same team from last year,” Evans said. “Our goals are, of course, to make it back to state this year, and work as a team from the beginning.

The Cowboys lost only one senior to graduation in Shayna Sterrett, but it looks like they lost another starter in junior Donnie Buss, who chose to play soccer this season.

Nevertheless, Camp Verde returns seven players from the 2010 squad looking to get back to the state playoffs.

This season, the Cowboys sit in Division IV [Section I], instead of the normal 2A they’ve been in for last six seasons.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association officially realigned the individual sports during the 2010-2011 school year, and the team sports are set to begin their new adventure in 2011-2012.

Evans said Camp Verde won’t be too worried about the new realignment phase for the AIA, but instead will focus on the 18 players who came out for volleyball this season.

Top returners for Camp Verde include juniors Amanda Showers and Katie Wilson. Showers may find herself playing middle blocker this season for the Cowboys while Wilson should sit at the outside hitter spot.

“I am extremely excited, and I think we can make it to state this year,” Wilson said.

Seniors Amber Gesser and Mayra Perez also return, with Gesser taking over the setter position this season while Perez moves to outside hitter.

Other top returners include junior Jenny Lawson at left outside hitter and sophomores Caitlin Harris [outside hitter] and Kayla Nederer [setter].

A top newcomer worth noting this season is junior Jade Ruis, who has made the team, according to Evans. A position is unclear for Ruis but she should get plenty of playing time as the eighth player on the roster, giving Evans a clearer look at what her strengths and weaknesses are.

The Cowboys are scheduled to begin their 2011 fall campaign at Scottsdale Christian High School on Friday, Aug. 26, in a scrimmage match.

Camp Verde will open the season at home against cross-valley rival Mingus Union High School on Tuesday, Aug. 30, with a start time set for 6 p.m.

The Cowboys have a tough start to the 2011 season with Mingus in the opener, Bradshaw Mountain High School on Thursday, Sept. 1, and rival Sedona Red Rock High School a week later on Thursday, Sept. 8.

The match against Sedona will be a good test since the Scorpions are in Division IV as well and are expected to compete for a state championship come November.

A year ago, longtime Camp Verde High School boys soccer Head Coach Dave Miller said “anything can happen” when asked what he thought his team’s chances were to win a state title in 2010.

Derrick Brown rears back to nail a shot on the goal during practice Thursday, Aug. 25. The Camp Verde High School boys soccer team opens the season at the Chino Cup Invitational in Chino Valley on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 2 and 3.Unfortunately, the Cowboys needed three straight wins at the end of the season to barely earn a spot in the 1A-3A conference state playoffs.

At state, Camp Verde dropped its regular season record to 10-9-2 overall when it lost to Holbrook High School in the first round, 2-0.

Finishing barely over .500 and losing in the first round of the state tournament isn’t exactly what Miller had in mind in late August last year, especially with twin brothers Casey and Cody Grey along with Jake McIlvoy leading the way as seniors.

In 2011, Miller believes his chances are just as good, and with a slew of seniors coming back from all the experience they earned in 2010 as juniors, the Cowboys are in the hunt once again for a title this fall.

“Our speed on top is probably our team strength,” Miller said. “Our experience in the middle will help, but our defense is young.”

Top returning seniors for the Cowboys include team captain Andres Orellana. Orellana should be a solid center midfielder for Camp Verde this season according to Miller.

Other top seniors include Michael Casillas, Marcos Lozanilla, Trent Fogelson, Zeke O’Callaghan and Derrick Brown.

Casillas is a solid defender while Lozanilla will team with Orellana at midfield. Fogelson will be on the outside with O’Callaghan.

As for Brown, he looks to bring his toughness from being one of the top grapplers on the mat for the Cowboys in the winter to the soccer field this fall.

Other top returners include junior Justin Reay and sophomores Andy Woodward, Edgar Agayo, Jake Zeid and Jesse Alvey.

According to Miller, the experience will pay off when the season begins to grind for the Cowboys. One thing Miller desperately hopes to improve is his team’s play against Chino Valley High School. Camp Verde went 0-3 against the Cougars in 2010 and were outscored 12-4 in the three matches.

The Cowboys began to take steps toward a great season Saturday, Aug. 27, when they traveled to Payson High School for a scrimmage. Camp Verde tied the Longhorns 2-2 in the scrimmage match.

“We moved a lot of players in and out against Payson and got to see some guys get a few minutes of playing time. It was good to get a look at stuff, and for the boys to get their game nerves settled,” Miller said.

Top newcomers for the Cowboys include junior Jose Cassillas, Michael’s cousin, sophomore Lorrin Franklin, and freshmen Javier Valdez, Jeremiah Cresto, Michael Nelson and Graham Hickey.

Camp Verde is scheduled to open the season Friday, Sept. 2, in Chino Valley at the Chino Cup Invitational. The two-day tournament runs through Saturday, Sept. 3, where the Cowboys could see Blue Ridge, Desert Christian and Grand Canyon high schools.

“We’re going to get to see top teams right away,” Miller said.

The following week, Camp Verde is scheduled to welcome Thunderbird Academy in its home opener Thursday, Sept. 8.

Camp Verde is in Division IV this season, instead of the normal 1A-3A it’s played in for years.

Just over a year ago, the Arizona Interscholastic Association made a big change, realigning the schools to help with budget cuts.

Schools will now play other schools closer to them geographically, rather than competing against schools based on similar enrollment numbers as done in the past.

The Division IV state playoffs are scheduled to begin Friday, Oct. 28.

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