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Toppenish's Joshua Perez is SBLive's WaFd Bank Class 1A Senior Athlete of the Year

Two-sport standout led Wildcats' football and basketball teams to state playoff appearances in 2022-23

Welcome to a continuing tradition at SBLive Washington – honoring the WaFd Bank 2022-23 senior male and female athletes of the year for each classification.

Because the SBLive crew gets so immersed in specific sports seasons, it is nice to take a step back to pick a statewide honor from a broader perspective.

The criteria isn’t too expansive: The starting point is finding seniors who are all-league/all-state performers in two or more sports. Totality of career is also a factor. So is administrator/coach/fan recommendation.

Enjoy as we honor some of Washington’s top multi-sport senior athletes!

Washington high school football 2022: Royal at Toppenish, Joshua Perez

Joshua Perez's athletic career at Toppenish High School didn't peak early by any means, but one of his greatest moments in a Wildcats' uniform came when he was just a ninth grader.

His off-balance buzzer-beater that gave Toppenish a 64-62 win and snapped then-defending Class 1A champion Zillah's 27-game winning streak was just the beginning of what turned out to be an outstanding career.

What followed was even more success on the basketball court, but also a revitalization of the football team with Perez as its quarterback.

With it all said and done now, Perez - SBLive WA's Class 1A senior male athlete of the year for 2022-23 - said he hopes to be remembered as someone who gave his all.

"I just worked my tail off for the community of Toppenish and I think I did pretty well," Perez said.

Perez always stepped foot on the field or court with the community in mind, Toppenish football coach Jason Smith said.

"At the end of the Mount Baker game his junior year – it was the first time we had been to the playoffs in 20 years and we won. After the game, he just praised the fans that were there – he did it for the community and the team. He's a very unselfish player like that," Smith said.

Smith added that his athleticism didn't hurt either.

"I'm just not sure of the next time I'm going to be able to coach somebody with his game presence," Smith said.

Even with the great deal of personal accomplishments and wins across both sports, Perez was quick to say he'll remember the time he spent with his teammates the most.

Perez will head off to two-year Highline College in Burien this fall on a basketball scholarship. He's hoping to inspire and be a role model to the next generation of Toppenish athletes on and off the court.

"My plan is to become a coach and educator," Perez said. "I want people to come back to me and ask for not just basketball advice, but life advice in general."

Josh Perez, Toppenish - Washington 1A male Athlete of the Year


School: Toppenish.

Sports: Football, basketball.

Next step: Signed to play basketball at Highline College (JUCO) and will study education.

Senior-year highlights: Voted first team South Central Athletic Conference in football and basketball. Led the Toppenish football team back to the Class 1A state playoffs for the second consecutive year. Broke Toppenish's career passing yards record in a Week 2 game against Washougal. Tallied 2,103 passing yards and 24 touchdowns in 11 games. He added 317 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the ground...Averaged 21.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game to guide Toppenish to the Class 1A state basketball semifinals. Scored a season-high 34 points in a state tournament game against Freeman.

Career accomplishments: Finished his career with 5,235 passing yards as a three-year starter at quarterback. Holds every major passing record at Toppenish and guided the Wildcats to a run of success they hadn't seen since the early-1990s. With Perez as its signal caller, Toppenish reached the state playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time since 1991...Scored 737 points as a three-year varsity player on the basketball team. Averaged 18 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game in his career. Became the program's all-time leading scorer, breaking his older brother Isaac's record in March.

School/community achievements: Highline College basketball scholarship.