By Greg Perkins–
For the third year in a row, the Joseph City Wildcats have come home with the state title. On Saturday they wrapped up a perfect season with a 38-6 win over previously unbeaten Joy Christian in the Division VI title game played in Prescott Valley.
The two teams came in with different offensive approaches and when Joy Christian’s starting quarterback went down with an injury on the team’s first offensive play, the Cats quickly had the upper hand. Joseph City’s primary weapon, running back Remington Baldwin, was also injured in the second period, but he was able to do some damage before he left. Wyatt Bain hooked up with Baldwin on a 34-yard scoring toss, giving the Cats the first lead of the game at 8-0 after Baldwin completed the two-point run. Joy Christian countered with a 65 yard scoring pass to pull within two points at 8-6. Baldwin then scored on a 40-yard run, giving the Wildcats a 16-6 lead heading to the second quarter.
The Wildcat defense played well through much of the game and put points on the board in the second period, recovering an Eagle fumble in the end zone to push the margin to 22-6. With Baldwin sidelined through the second and third periods, Jacob Fields helped pick up the slack, scoring on a five yard run in the third to bring the lead to 30-6.
Dallas Elmer also had a big day carrying the ball and scored the final touchdown of the game on a 46-yard run in the fourth. Baldwin, who returned to the field in the second half, scored the final two points of his Wildcat career on the conversion run, ending the scoring with the Cats on top 38-6.
Before getting injured midway through the second period, Baldwin had amassed over 150 yards, including a pair of touchdowns. In his absence, senior Elmer, who has also had a big year, took over, rushing for 189 yards with a score.
“I am very happy with the way our whole team played,” said Coach John Bryant.
“Our defense dominated the game with our line play. Robert Larsen at nose guard really manhandled any one in the middle of the field. Brandon Massey and Daniel Bushman contained and tackled well. The line really read the screen pass well, which was Joy Christians biggest play all year, and we were able to stop it every time. Austin Gardner and Remington Baldwin played great at linebacker. Our defensive secondary, with Dallas Elmer, Chance Rush, Jacob Fields and Wyatt Johnson, really stepped up and stopped a prolific passing team that was averaging over 60 points per game.
“We also were able to dominate offensively with our great line play lead by Robert Larsen, Austin Gardner, Brandon Massey, Daniel Bushman and Chance Rush. Wyatt Bain played very steady at quarterback. Our running backs did fantastic at moving the ball with Dallas Elmer having a huge game as he carried the load for us most of the night. Remington Baldwin had a great game, especially considering he played with an injured knee. Jacob Fields also did well running the ball.
“I’m just very proud of the whole team with the heart they played with all season. Wow! Three in a row! It doesn’t get much better than this!” concluded the coach.