Joy Christian earns another D-VI football title shot

Joy Christian earns another D-VI football title shot

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Joy Christian earns another D-VI football title shot

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Since last year’s 38-6 loss to Joseph City in the Division VI title game, all Glendale Joy Christian has been able to think about is getting another shot at the title.

Saturday’s game against No.8 Phoenix Valley Lutheran marked its final hurdle, and it cleared it by a mile.

Though the first half was tight, No.4 Joy Christian exploded in the second half and outscored Valley Lutheran 38-7 in an easy 60-24 victory.

Joy Christian moves on to the Division VI title game against Pima in the Division VI title game at Phoenix Sunnyslope High School next Saturday.

“They’ve worked really hard, and they deserve to go back to that (championship) game and hopefully this year, we get a ‘W,'” Joy Christian coach Brian Cole said.

Valley Lutheran, hot off a win over No.1 Scottsdale Prep, came out swinging, scoring on the opening kickoff with an 80-yard return by Ketah Watson to take an early 7-0 lead, but Joy Christian would answer right back. It scored on its opening drive with a 40-yard pass from Nick Henderson to Trevor Deason. Henderson hooked up with Deason again for the two-point conversion and jumped ahead 8-7.

But Valley Lutheran wouldn’t go away. The teams stayed tight through two quarters with Joy Christian up 22-17 at the half.

“I’ve got to give Valley Lutheran a lot of credit,” Cole said. “They came out and played really hard in that first half. They kept this one close, and we had to come out in the second half and play a little bit better.”

Joy Christian came out much sharper after the break and scored three touchdowns in three minutes to take a 42-17 lead with 6:18 remaining in the third quarter.

“It got us on a roll, and we just stayed on it,” Henderson said.

Valley Lutheran managed to cut the lead to 18 by the end of the third quarter, but back-to-back turnovers hurt the underdog’s chance at a comeback and a fatiguing Valley Lutheran defense was unable to keep the flood gates closed. Joy Christian put up 18 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and sailed to victory.

“Our defense has carried us through the whole year,” Henderson said. “Our defense is the key to our success.

Joy Christian has yet to face Pima, but come game time Cole said they’ll be plenty ready.

“We’ll do our homework, and we’ll get it together,” he said.

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