By Jacob Pumphrey
Special to the News-Times
JUNCTION CITY – Fifty-four first-half points highlighted Class 3A No. 1 Junction City’s domination of Drew Central on Thursday night at Paul H. Muse Field at David Carpenter Stadium.
The Dragons defeated the Pirates 60-6 and concluded their regular season slate by becoming the seventh team in program history to record an unbeaten regular season.
Junction City (10-0, 7-0 6-3A), led by senior running back Hishmma Taylor, finished with 384 yards of total offense in the win with 359 yards coming on the ground.
Taylor finished his night with 10 carries for 178 yards and four touchdowns, while the Dragons averaged 10.4 yards per play with just 12:34 in time of possession.
As they have shown all season, it was a quick scoring drive for the Junction City offense to start the night, as senior quarterback Shuvasceiaye Frazier found classmate wide receiver Jakobe Fisher wide open on an 8-yard touchdown pass as the Dragons took a 6-0 lead with 10:25 to play in the first quarter.
Taylor carried the load for the Dragons on their next three drives, as he scored touchdowns of 20, 19 and 65 yards to push Junction City to a commanding 30-0 lead with 3:46 remaining in the first quarter. Frazier tacked on the final score of the opening quarter at the 1:22 mark with a 1-yard scoring tote that followed an impressive 55-yard scamper by dual-threat quarterback.
The scoring bonanza continued for the state’s second-best rushing offense, as Taylor rushed untouched to paydirt from 28 yards out less than 75 seconds into the second quarter to increase the Dragon advantage to 46-0.
With less than seven minutes remaining in the first half, sophomore athlete Jamie Carroll rushed for 11 yards and a score as Junction City’s lead grew to 54.
That score would serve as the final points for Junction City in the first half and the Dragons would answer Drew Central’s lone touchdown of the evening with a 27-yard third-quarter touchdown run by sophomore running back Jakiron Cook that solidified the 60-6 final score.
The Dragon defense logged yet another imposing performance, as they held the Pirate offense to just 84 total yards at a mere 1.9 yards per play.
Senior linebacker Terrell Gibson led the unit with five stops and 2 1/2 tackles for loss, while a trio of young guys got in on the action defensively as Chase Fennell, DJ Hill and Kam Torrence combined for 9 1/2 tackles in the second half.
Junction City forced a pair of turnovers, including an interception by Cook, while senior athlete Tykeon Hollidy averaged 34.3 return yards in three punt return attempts.
First-year head coach Steven Jones was pleased with his team’s performance in closing out the regular season and noted that his team is peaking at the right time.
“A very good effort all the way around tonight from all of our guys. I’m really proud of their focus in preparation this week,” Jones said. "We are playing our best football heading into the playoffs and have steadily improved throughout the regular season. A lot of guys are contributing and that’s what we need this time of year.”
Next week, the Dragons begin the 2017 Class 3A State Football Playoffs with a bye week and will welcome the winner of the opening round matchup between the third seed from the 2-3A and the fourth seed from the 5-3A into Paul H. Muse Field at David Carpenter Stadium on November 17. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Fans can catch all of the action live on the Dragon Sports Network via USTREAM.