Sedona Red Rock High School’s football team trailed 21-14 in the third quarter, but ultimately suffered a 30-14 defeat to Verde Valley rival Camp Verde High School at home on Friday, Oct. 27.
The Scorpions [0-9, 0-5] bid farewell to six seniors during halftime of the season finale, marking the end of a winless season that drastically changed with the injury of senior quarterback Javi Pacheco in the third game.
“I think we played good. It was rough because it was all of their last game and we lost,” Red Rock junior wide receiver Evan Favorite said. “It was fun and I think we put everything into it.”
“I’m disappointed that we lost but I’m glad we played it,” Red Rock senior lineman Reaston McManus said. “There were people crying and I thought it was a great game, I thought the emotions were high.”
The pivotal moment came with the score at 21-14 midway through the third, with the Scorpions defense on the field and the distance between the line of scrimmage and the end zone shrinking.
A second fake field goal attempt by the Cowboys was initially stopped, with Camp Verde junior running back Dominiq Bruno pulled down in the backfield by Red Rock senior lineman Michael Bryan.
But Bryan brought Bruno down with a horse collar, the penalty giving Bruno the extra down to boot a field goal, making it 24-14.
Two Red Rock turnovers turned into 13 points for Camp Verde along the way.
“I think we turned it over a lot and that really hurt,” Favorite said. “Other than that I think we would have been in it, but that hurt us a lot.”
The visitors opened the scoring. Red Rock received the opening kickoff, but fumbled the ball after gaining its first first down. The Cowboys needed seven plays to punch the ball into the end zone, senior running back Ryan Loza getting the first of his three touchdowns on the night.
The Scorpions got their first score with 1:53 left in the second quarter. Sophomore running back Jackson Coughlin took a shovel pass eight yards for a score, keeping Camp Verde within striking distance.
Bryan recovered a fumble near the goal line and returned it to the Cowboys’ 20 yard line to set up the score.
Red Rock struggled to get going offensively, as the Camp Verde defense habitually got into the backfield to stimie running plays and sack junior quarterback Jake Brown.
On the other hand, the Cowboys used the running game to control the time of possession, allowing just five second-half possessions to the Scorpions.
Defensively, Red Rock’s unit recovered a fumble and forced two punts and one turnover on downs.
The second touchdown it gave up came almost midway through the second quarter. Camp Verde senior quarterback Payton Sarkesian scored on a keeper to cap the team’s longest drive of the game, spanning nearly six minutes.
The Cowboys extended their lead to 21-6 on the opening possession of the second half. Loza found the end zone again after Sarkesian connected with Bruno for a 43-yard pass down the right sideline.
Red Rock scored on a flea flicker to make it a one possession game on its second drive of the quarter. A short punt from Camp Verde gave the Scorpions a short field to work with. On the third play of the series, junior wide receiver Evan Favorite found senior wide receiver Branaghan Cunningham for a 51-yard score, cutting the deficit to 21-14.
The Cowboys scored the field goal on their next drive, and the game was sentenced when another Scorpions fumble turned into a Camp Verde touchdown. Brown fumbled as he was sacked at his own 22 yard line, and Loza scored three plays later.