Camp Verde High School’s football team was unable to keep up with visiting Parker High School’s offense and athleticism in a 40-14 loss on Friday, Oct. 13.
The Broncs opened a 24-6 advantage at halftime through its complicated offense, which Cowboys head coach Jerry Rhoades said presented problems to his defense.
“We got worn down and we struggled stopping them. They’ve just got so much going on on offense we just wore out. There was nothing we could do,” Rhoades said. “They’re so athletic across the board.”
Eight Cowboys seniors were celebrated, as it was their final home game as well as the homecoming game: Payton Sarkesian, Cutter Sterett, Kieran Chrisman, Ryan Loza, Kevin Oothoudt, Rafeal Gonzales, Bryce Garcia and Miguel Salas.
As it has always done whenever Camp Verde wins the coin toss, it decided to kick the ball away and play defense to open the game. The Cowboys established their defensive presence, stopping Parker on its first drive.
The hosts came back and scored on their opening possession, with the quarterback Sarkesian scoring on the ground from about five yards out toward the end of the first quarter. The two-point try after was no good.
But from then on the Broncs began to establish themselves and their offense. They scored a little over a minute into the second quarter and converted their two-point conversion for an 8-6 lead.
Later they intercepted a Sarkesian pass and converted the turnover into eight more points. However, Camp Verde was driving down the field again.
Then Parker senior free safety and running back James Hoban grabbed another interception and returned nearly the length of the field for the score. The Broncs had their 24-6 halftime lead, which could have been greater save a fumble recovery by the Cowboys with seconds remaining inside of their own 10 yard line.
The idea coming out of the locker room was to score early and begin to chip away, which they did.
Sarkesian ran it in from about five yards again for this team’s second and final score, making it 24-14. As the half wore on, the Camp Verde players wore down.
Hoban continued to take the ball on direct snaps throughout, and used his speed to run behind blockers.
“[Hoban] just literally outran everyone on the field, and he did time and time again,” Rhoades said.
Camp Verde fell to 2-5 overall and 1-3 in Central Region action.
Despite having a young team that is also small in terms of roster size, Rhoades was hoping for his team to go 7-3 or 8-2 by season’s end.
Injuries to key players during stretches did not help the cause. The latest was Salas, one of the bigger, older and experienced linemen, who got injured against the Broncs.
“We’ve come a long way, we’ve really matured this year. It’s hard to see the silver lining in the situation right now. We really thought we had a good game plan [against Parker], and we just ran out of steam,” Rhoades said. “It’s kind of hard to see the positives through all the things we’ve gone through, and because we had such high expectations at the beginning of the year.”
The team travels to No. 4 Gilbert Christian High School on Friday, Oct. 20, before rounding out the season at Verde Valley rival Sedona Red Rock High School on Oct. 27.