Shaun Scott, staff photo Dejhion Parrish (pictured in 2015 during his high school days at Interlake) is looking forward to his sophomore season with Arizona Western College football team this fall. Arizona Western is one of the best junior college football programs in the nation.

Interlake grad Parrish is thriving on gridiron

One of the most electrifying running backs in Interlake school history can’t wait for his sophomore season with the Arizona Western College Matadors this fall on the gridiron.

Interlake 2016 graduate Dejhion Parrish, who rushed for 489 yards and scored five touchdowns during his freshman season, is hoping to crack the starting lineup this fall. Parrish was the third string running back during the 2016 season. Arizona Western had a 11-1 overall record last season and lost to Garden City Community College 25-22 in the National Junior College Athletic Association championship game on Dec. 3. Arizona Western College is known for being one of the best junior college football programs in the nation.

Parrish may be undersized (5 feet, 6 inches) but it hasn’t stopped him from thriving on the football field. He possesses an abundance of speed to go along with astute mental and physical toughness. He said playing football at the collegiate level couldn’t be more different from high school.

“You realize once you get to college that everybody here was the man at their school. Every drill is 100 percent. High school it was all fun and games but out here it is very serious,” Parrish said.

Despite being the third on the running back depth chart in 2016, Parrish said he was still able to get ample playing time.

“We have a rotation running style where we have guys coming in and out,” he said.

While the Arizona Western coaching staff likes to keep their ball carriers fresh, Parrish is striving to be the feature back this fall when the team takes the field for the season opener on Sept. 2 against Eastern Arizona.

“I’m just fighting for the starting spot. Having it be my second year, I feel like it’s going to make a great difference. I’m going to come back with more confidence. We are coming back with the same playbook and the same scheme from last year so really it is just executing and building on what I did from last year,” he said.

Parrish is the kind of athlete who thoroughly enjoys battling for a spot in the starting lineup.

“It brings the best out of you. It shows what you can do when the pressure is on. I love being behind (non-starter) because it gives you that edge you need. I love the competition,” Parrish said.