By Greg Perkins
The Wildcats wrapped up the regular season with an easy 52-12 road win at Paradise Honors in Surprise last Friday night. Joseph City was able to rest several key players, as well as give nearly everyone quality playing time. With their state playoff run beginning this week, that rest will come in handy.
Jaden Parra opened the scoring just three minutes into the game on a 10-yard run. Jacob Fields scored four minutes later from six yards out, then only a minute later Parra returned an interception for a score, giving Joseph City a commanding 20-0 lead at the end of the first period.
Paradise Honors scored the only points of the second period on a 13-yard pass play, leaving the Cats on top 20-6 at the half. Josh Burt scored on a 30-yard run and Fields scooted in from 36 yards out, helping Joseph City push its margin to 36-6 heading to the final quarter.
In the fourth, Wyatt Johnson scored on defense with an interception return and scored again on special teams, returning a punt 51 yards for a touchdown. Paradise Honors scored the final points of the night on a run, but the outcome had long since been decided as Joseph City ended the regular season with a 7-1 record.
The Wildcats rushed for 275 yards and completed three passes for 33 yards. Hayden Hendricks attempted six passes, completing half for the 33-yard output. Koby Smith made one grab for 16 yards, Robert Larsen had one for 13 and Chance Bray made one catch for four yards.
On the ground the Wildcats were led by Larsen with 74 yards on 10 rushes. Bray carried nine times for 74 yards. Burt rushed five times for 57; Fields, three for 42; Landon Baldwin, six for 15; Connor Neal, one for 11; and Parra one for 10.
Larsen led the defense with six tackles. Smith and Johnson each had four.
With the win the Cats finished the season as the fifth ranked team in Division VI and will host No. 12 St. David tonight (Oct. 19). A Joseph City win would set up a rematch of last year’s state title game against Joy Christian. The Wildcats won that game for their third consecutive state title.
“We start the playoffs against St. David. They will be a good test for us. They are big on the line and have a very fast running back. They are also very good at special teams. We better get ready for a tough ball game,” said Coach John Bryant.
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By Greg Perkins