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Chris Grant and Keyano Zamarripa.

Toppenish's championship connection has been reunited for the 2018 season.

Not that it drifted too far apart. Both Christopher Grant (left in photo) and Keyano Zamarripa (right in photo) have been on the field together plenty the last two seasons.

Just this fall the pitch-and-catch combo that led the Wildcats to the to 2015 Grid Kids class A championship with Zamarripa throwing to Grant is back.

"We have quite a bit of chemistry," said Zamarripa, who moves under center after earning all-CWAC South first-team honors as a running back, rushing for 903 yards and seven touchdowns last fall.

He replaces two-year starter and all-conference second-team Adonis Shaul, who graduated in the spring.

Grant was named first-team all-CWAC South as a utility player on offense and safety on defense. He had 24 receptions for 258 yards and a score.

The two also will take larger leadership roles after graduation took its toll. Seven players who garnered all-conference recognition were among a large group of seniors in 2017 for the Wildcats, who finished 5-5 overall, 2-2 in conference play and lost by just four points to CWAC division winners Selah and Othello.

"I would say we're more hungry than excited, with all the seniors leaving and being (larger) leaders," Grant said.

Grant already has taken on leadership during school hours. He was the junior class president, is involved in several student clubs and is a regular visitor to Toppenish's elementary schools - "I like to help out the little kids," he said.

He also plays basketball for the Wildcats and runs track in the spring.

Grant is a lead-by-example type ... for the most part.

"People might say I'm not the biggest talker and show (leadership) by my actions," he said. "But if I have to scream, I'll scream."

Zamarripa is a two-time state qualifier for the Wildcats' powerful wrestling program. He took eighth place at 152 pounds last winter after qualifying at 170 in 2017.

"I like the challenge of wrestling," said Zamarripa, whose older brother, Emilio, also quarterbacked the Wildcats. "It's one on one and I want to see who's better man."

As a quarterback, Zamarripa has no delusions that he'll be a gunslinger firing darts.

"I'm not very tall so I can't sit in the pocket, I have to roll out," he said.

And it's out of the pocket he can do his most damage, longtime Wildcats coach Jason Smith said, recalling a moment in that Grid Kids championship when Zamarripa scrambled away from Sunnyside defenders and flung it downfield to - who else? - Grant for a big play.

Most impressive to Smith, however, is how the two have stepped up as seniors.

"They've really taken their leadership roles to a new level," Smith said.

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