SEDONA — Camp Verde High football led wire to wire at Sedona Red Rock to finish the season on a high note.
The No. 28 Cowboys (3-6, 2-3 Central) beat their rivals 30-14 on Friday night.
“We were having trouble executing in the first half, fighting but have trouble executing,” said Camp Verde junior Dominiq Bruno. “We just came out the second half, coaches yelled at us (laughs), trying to push us, trying to challenge us, came out second half and played well.”
Senior Ryan Loza opened up the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown run. Then in the second quarter, senior Payton Sarkesian ran seven yards for a touchdown.
Jackson Coughlin responded with an 8-yard touchdown run as the Cowboys led 13-6 at the half.
“It was good, we came out hot, slowed down,” Sarkesian said. “They only scored on big plays, it’s not like they were dominating us on anything.”
Sarkesian was 3-for-5 for 96 yards passing.
The win snaps Camp Verde’s two game losing streak. No. 35 Sedona Red Rock finished the season winless, 0-9, 0-5 Central.
“It went good,” said Camp Verde head coach Jerome Rhoades. “Obviously we did some good things in some spots, but we still struggled From game one to game 10, it’s been a struggle all year.”
Rhoades improves to 2-0 against the Scorpions. The Cowboys had lost four in a row to Sedona Red Rock before he became the head coach.
Camp Verde leads the series against the Scorpions 8-6 since 2004.
“It’s good,” Rhoades said. “It’s nice to win no matter who we play but for these guys it means a lot to them.”
Sarkesian said the Scorpions talked during the game but were respectful after.
“It’s pretty sweet, it feels good,” Sarkesian said. “This year probably was a lot more exciting cuz we were so prepared this whole week of practice. We didn’t go into this game thinking ‘oh we’re going to blow these guys out,’ because they’re a tough team, every team’s tough, last game, it’s their senior night, homecoming. We knew what we had to do and got it done.”
In the third quarter, Sarkesian hit Bruno for a 60-yard reception, setting up a Loza 4-yard touchdown run.
The Scorpions struck back again, when Branaghan Cunningham caught a 51-yard touchdown pass.
Then a little over midway through the fourth quarter, Bruno kicked a 31-yard field goal.
“I was nervous, my legs were on fire but I couldn’t breathe,” Bruno said.
Bruno had 12 carries for 94 yards and Loza 14 for 43 yards.
Sarkesian ran the ball 17 times for 88 yards. He said he got more carries because of the success he had running the ball recently, sometimes Bruno even lined up behind center.
“It’s sick dude, it’s sweet,” Sarkesian said. “It’s a lot more free because there’s a lot more pressure on you as quarterback, you know? So when you just take the ball and run you feel more powerful, like you don’t have to think as much.”
The Cowboys constantly harassed the Sedona Red Rock quarterback.
“There wasn’t anything that we did special,” Rhoades said. “We didn’t have anything planned for that, it’s just the way it goes some nights, you know? We got a little pressure on him.”
Loza scored his third touchdown of the game on a 3-yard run to push the score to 30-14.
Bruno said it felt good to get the win for the seniors.
Rhoades thinks that ending the season on a high note can help the program.
“I hope that we continue to take this high thing that we’re on and get kids in the weight room and do some stuff in the off season,” Rhoades said. “We kinda fizzled last year at that, so hopefully it’ll carry over a little more this year.”