Following an injury to Campo Verde High School football Head Coach Max Ragsdale’s “bell-cow” running back Cameron Pinion during practice this week, Ragsdale needed to rely on his junior running back Caden Calloway to pick up the slack and keep up the Coyotes’ heavy ground attack against rival Mesquite.
Not only did the 5-foot-11, 166-pound running back pick up the slack, he was the driving force behind the Coyotes’ 64-6 thrashing of Mesquite on Friday, August 30th at Mesquite High School in Gilbert.
In just his second-ever varsity game, Calloway concluded the night with six total touchdowns - five on the ground - while picking up 221 rushing yards. Calloway’s touchdown reception was 60 yards, bringing his total night’s production to 281 yards.
“He’s just a hardworking kid and he's going to have to pick up the slack now that (Cameron) Pinon is hurting,” Ragsdale said. “He's definitely a kid that we can count on.”
Brimming with joy following the contest, Calloway made sure to give credit to his offensive line and receivers.
“Our line was killing it, they made every block, they made me look good,” Calloway said, adding he’s never had five rushing touchdowns in a game before. “The receivers were blocking downfield every time. They weren't missing blocks. They were staying on and they were just killing it all around.”
Thanks in part to Calloway, the Coyotes were able to keep up the rushing attack that worked for them in the 41-26 victory against Sunnyside in week one where the team picked up 303 yards on the ground - 150 yards of that coming from Calloway.
“If it's good tasting candy, keep on licking that candy,” Ragsdale said. “That's just what we do.”
The other part of Coach Ragsdale’s game plan against rival Mesquite was taking care of the Wildcats’ air attack led by junior quarterback Ty Thompson - who threw for 364 yards and two touchdowns in Mesquite’s opening week 41-24 victory against the Gilbert Tigers.
After Calloway started off the game with a touchdown for Campo Verde, Thompson led the Wildcats down the field and scored on the ensuing drive. The extra point would be missed, leaving the Wildcats with six points. They wouldn’t score for the remainder of the game while Campo Verde put up 56 unanswered points.
“I just think we had to get used to that gunslinger back there,” Ragsdale said. “Once we got our bearings, we were able to do what we practiced all week. I'm really proud of our defense. They flew to the ball and were very disciplined in what they had to do.”
While Ragsdale’s game plan worked, the same couldn’t be said for Mesquite Head Coach Scott Hare’s game plan, who took the blame following the defeat.
“They beat us, they beat me,” Hare said. “I got beat down tonight as the head football coach of Mesquite. Prior to anything our guys did, the game plan obviously didn't work from the word go.”
Hare did, however, give credit to the Coyotes’ stifling defense.
“In a lot of ways, they were bigger, more physical and faster than us,” Hare said. “In the sport of football, that's going to put you in a tough spot. We tried to do some things, move the ball around a little bit, but it just wasn't our night.”
Mesquite drops to 1-1 on the young season, while Campo Verde is off to a 2-0 start. It’s the fourth year in a row the Coyotes have started off 2-0.
“It (a 2-0 start) says that it looks like we know what we're doing,” Ragsdale said. “It says that we're in good shape. It says that we need to improve every week. It's not about our opponent, it's about us. We just got to get better week in and week out.”
“It was a fantastic night,” Ragsdale continued. “It's always nice to beat an in-district rival and tonight went our way.”
Campo Verde heads back home next week to take on the Kellis Cougars. Mesquite, meanwhile, remains at home for its Week 3 matchup against the Mingus Marauders.
CV -- 22 28 7 7 -- 64
MS -- 6 0 0 0 -- 6
CV - Caden Calloway 2-yard rushing touchdown (2-point conversion good) (8:48)
MS - Ty Thompson 33-yard touchdown pass (6:42)
CV - Caden Calloway 1-yard rushing touchdown (2:44)
CV - Caden Calloway 12-yard rushing touchdown (0:21)
CV - Zach Herrera to Danny McFarland 5-yard touchdown reception (7:53)
CV - Caden Calloway 15-yard rushing touchdown (7:04)
CV - Caden Calloway 7-yard rushing touchdown (4:54)
CV - Zach Herrera to Danny McFarland 30-yard touchdown reception (0:24)
CV - Zach Herrera to Caden Calloway 60-yard touchdown reception (5:13)
CV - Issac Hefel fumble recovery for a touchdown (8:04)