Domination in the trenches propelled Camp Verde High School’s football team to a 21-14 Central Region win over Paradise Honors High School on Friday, Sept. 29.
The Cowboys [2-4, 1-2] entered the game plan with a plan to substitute its young linemen, who play on both sides of the ball, early and often to keep them fresh down the stretch.
It paid off.
“The kids played their hearts out and it was very much needed and the kids hung in there all night long,” Cowboys head coach Jerry Rhoades said. “We played very very well in the trenches, at the line of scrimmage, on both sides of the ball.”
Another big factor was the return of junior Dominiq Bruno, who was a big factor in the victory that situated the team in fourth place in the region standings.
With Bruno on the field, he set up inside running for senior Ryan Loza by establishing the outside and was one of the leading rushers for the game. Defensively he forced the game-sealing fumble on the last play of the game and intercepted a pass.
Camp Verde junior wide receiver Alec Moore caught two touchdown passes, of 32 and 30 yards, from senior quarterback Payton Sarkesian. Sarkesian, who finished seven for 13 with 100 yards, tossed a third touchdown to senior receiver Rafeal Gonzales.
The visiting Panthers [2-3, 1-1] scored one touchdown on a kickoff return in the first half, but Camp Verde led 13-7 at the break and 21-7 in the third quarter.
The Cowboys made goal line stands on fourth and goal inside of the final five minutes to secure the victory. Loza fumbled the ball at his own 18 yard line with 2:15 left, and the defense held up.
“That’s what sticks out in my mind is our resiliency defensively there at the end of the game,” Rhoades said.