Academically driven, yet athletically involved, striking a balance between the two worlds can create some tension. Knowing that he would like to get into a good college, Josh has made sure to take as many college concurrent classes that he can. This means, as a two-sport athlete with a rigorous and scholastic focused schedule, Josh is no stranger to pressure. It’s all a part of his journey to get to where life will take him.
As the quarterback for the Tigers, Josh makes sure he really focuses while analyzing game film. Scrutinizing his own performance, looking for things he can improve on, he feels it necessary to understand what he can do to be the best quarterback he can be for his team. This does not stop at his own performance, like any good general leading troops; he seeks to understand his opposition well. “I make sure I study the defense. I have to be able to know what it is I need to do during a game, how to read the defense so I can react.”
“Watching my son last year was exciting. Yet, we were also a little apprehensive,” admits Jacson Parker, Josh’s father. “He had come in to play quarterback as a sophomore and they finished out the playoffs and he took the kids to the state championship where we fell just short. So watching him during his junior year we really felt like he was going to be able to take them to Rice Eccles Stadium once again. We had some hick-up along the way otherwise we would have been there once again.”
Seconds make all the difference for a quarterback. Decisions have to come quickly. You read the defense. Once you understand their formation, reading body language, you call out the play; get the snap and then seconds start ticking. The thing is, as quarterback you not only have to know what you are supposed to be doing; you have to know the role of every other player on the field as well. It’s a lot to take in, and once that ball is snapped, processing it all quickly is paramount.
As quarterback, your focus is moving the ball down field. Pass or run play you are making strategic decision to pick apart the defense and get into the end zone. Once that line is crossed, for any quarterback, it’s a great feeling. You’ve led your team well. The first touchdown though, that one will always stand out. Recalling his very first touchdown on the varsity squad as a sophomore Josh and one that would cause some attention. “It was against Juan Diego,” he shares, “in the quarterfinals. It was a 75-yard touchdown I think, with the ball in the air for about 55 yards. It was a huge throw. It was really exciting for me.”
Contrast the excitement of throwing his first touchdown with the pressure of the journey for him to get there in the first place. Josh was 3rd string in the depth chart on the JV squad. The coaches felt that was where he fell and so Josh had to grind it out during the season. Always working to improve and get better as a player, his tenacity to stick with it and get through emotions of dealing with the idea that he would not see much, if any, playing time spoke to his character. This instilled in him a mental toughness only fighting through adversity can teach. Though through a series of events, player ineligibility and another moving away, Josh found himself as the backup to the starting quarterback in the event of an injury.
In the playoffs, the unthinkable occurred. A broken ankle for senior Kaden Langston and just like that, Josh, the once 3rd string quarterback on the JV team was thrown to the wolves. Coach Steve Pearson said at the time, “Josh is a perfect example of a young man who was ready when it was his time.”
“It was a challenge. During JV, I had only played one quarter per game.” Josh continues, “I didn’t have as much [game] experience as all the other quarterbacks so I was nervous but once I got in there it was exciting. Definitely was a lot faster than JV.”
The maturity that comes with dealing with losses as a quarterback is accelerated; you lead the team, for better or for worse. How you handle that moving forward makes the difference. For that very reason, Josh feels that his ability to follow the advice from his coaches by, “staying positive and not worry about a bad pass or bad play,” he is much more confident about his abilities this year and hopes that he can serve his team well, get deep into the playoffs, and come away with that championship.
No matter how many things Josh is involved in; he always finds the time to say a kind word or do something nice for those around him. Built with the desire to make a difference in the lives of those he comes in contact with Josh has been able to leave a positive impression on many who know him. It only makes sense that Josh would be able to handle the leadership role when presented. On accepting the leadership role early on, Jacson shares, “Josh is a quite leader. He’s one who leads by example. He works hard and puts a lot of effort into being mentally tough as well as physically tough.”
Josh’s entry into this world came with some complications. In order to be delivered he would have to have his humerus bone in his right arm snapped in half. Bayoneting, the bone was coming out through the skin. Doctors at that point were concerned thinking that nerves in his hand might have been severed and thought that Josh would be unable to use his right arm. Immobilizing the arm for the first 6-9mo of his life and after a great many family prayers, church blessing and family fasting that within a year, mobility would return.
“It’s been nice watching him grow up and handle the situations he’s been faced with,” maintains Jacson. “With everything he’s gone through, he’s been cool under pressure.”
“I have great family and friends that have helped me through everything that I’ve needed help with and because of that I am prepared to go on my [LDS] mission and then go to college. This has all been a journey.”
Quite a journey indeed. • HSSI