By Greg Perkins
Knowing they may need to put up a bunch of points this week, the Wildcats posted 56 in an 11-point road win at Bagdad. Both teams came into this game averaging over 45 points per game and both lived up to those numbers, although the Wildcats were in control of the outcome after the first period.
Joseph City opened the scoring on an eight-yard run by Chance Rush just three minutes into the game. Jacob Fields hooked up with Wyatt Johnson for the two-point conversion, leaving the Cats on top 8-0. Bag-dad knotted the score with a three-yard touchdown pass just four minutes later. Connor Neal then broke free for an 80-yard run, quickly putting Joseph City back on top 16-8 with Fields’ conversion run.
TJ Hendricks returned an interception for Joseph City, pushing the margin to 30-8. Bagdad closed out the first period with a 32-yard scoring pass, leaving Joseph City on top 30-15 at the end of the first.
Josh Burt scored on a fumble recovery for Joseph City and Fields scored on a seven-yard run, helping the Wildcats increase their lead to 44-22 at the half. Neal scored on a one-yard plunge in the third and Fields scored from 21 yards out in the fourth helping to offset three fourth-quarter scores from Bagdad in the 56-45 win.
Fields completed just one of eight passes for 36 yards to Wyatt Johnson, but on the ground the Wildcats rolled up 532 yards. Neal rushed for 183 of those on 17 attempts. Fields gained 137 on 22 runs. Burt rushed 17 times for 134 yards. Rush gained 68 yards on 10 attempts.
Defensively, the Wildcats were led by Robert Larsen with nine tackles. Neal added 6.5, Chance Bray, 5.5, and Johnson had four takedowns.
“We played a tough game against them. We have one more regular season game, then we will be excited for the playoffs to begin. I’m proud of the players for positioning themselves to make a run at another state title,” said Coach John Bryant.
The Wildcats moved to 6-1 with the win and will finish the regular season on the road at Paradise Honors in Surprise.
By Greg Perkins