The 4-1 Parker Broncs traveled to Wickenburg on Friday, October 3rd to take on the Wranglers in the annual “Axe Game” that pits the longtime rivals in a battle over a fireman’s axe that has a long history. That axe will spend the next year hanging in Parker High Principal Paul Olson’s office after the Broncs edged Wickenburg 30-22.
The Broncs struggled early on, giving up a touchdown that put the Wranglers ahead 7-0 in the opening minutes of the game. Parker got back on track in the second quarter after Ryan Gray had a 3-yard TD run and they went ahead 13-0 when QB Cody Esquerra fooled the defense on a fake handoff and ran 46 yards for a touchdown to put the Broncs up 13-7. But with just seconds remaining in the first half Wickenburg took the lead after completing a 42-yard TD pass.
The third quarter was all Parker as Esquerra hit Robert Villescaz on a 25-yard TD pass and Riley Fisher sacked Wickenburg QB Will Patton in the endzone for a two-point safety. The Broncs took a 30-14 lead after RB Sam McGuire scored on a 2-yard run. The Wranglers made a last minute run at getting back in the game with a TD run in the fourth quarter, but Esquerra sealed the deal when he ran to the one yard line with just seconds remaining. The Broncs could’ve scored one last time before time expired but coach Jeston Lotts showed some class by telling Esquerra to kneel and let the clock run out.
The Bronc defense held Wickenburg to 109 yards rushing and only allowed 126 yards passing yards, while the Parker offense racked up 329 rushing yards. Esquerra had an impressive outing with 211 yards rushing. Jonathon McTarsney had a key interception in the game and played tough on special teams, while Spencer Moore had 12 tackles. Riley Fisher had two sacks on Wickenburg QB Will Patton. The Broncs had no turnovers in the win.
The Broncs were rated #8 in their 32-team division before the win, so their 5-1 record should improve that ranking when the new ratings come out later this week. The Broncs host Northpointe this Friday at Joe Bush Stadium in Parker.