The Shafter High Generals were perfect in SSL play on Friday night, playing arguably the most complete game of their season to date, beating the Taft Wildcats by a score of 34-13.
The Generals have already had some impressive games this season, but there is usually a phase of the game that dominates the contest.
On Friday night, in every phase of the game offense and defense each stepped up and did their part in the victory.
Shafter started strong in the first quarter, scoring a rushing touchdown when Devon Sundgren took it in from about six yards out, giving the Generals a 7-0 lead.
The Generals' defense played another stellar game, keeping the powerful Wildcats offense in check for most of the first half. When they weren't chasing the quarterback in the backfield, the Shafter defense was shutting the Wildcats' running game down on several series.
The Shafter offense took advantage of the opportunities and scored two more times in the first half, one of which was an impressive run by junior Koa Rhodes. Rhodes has came on in the last couple of weeks to give the Generals a depth in the offense that they were lacking earlier in the season.
Both defenses play a smash-mouth type of defense, with the Wildcats trading punches with the Generals.
But, the Generals were able to answer those blows with knock-out strikes of their own, including several successes in third-down situations.
Before the half was over, the Generals had amassed a 20-7 lead. Taft attempted to pull even with the Generals as they scored on their first possession of the second half. But, as had been the case most of the evening, Shafter's Sundgren and company gave the road warriors another double digit lead as they went up by a score of 27-13. The rest of the way, it was a superlative performance by the Generals' defense. The defensive 11 thwarted Wildcat drives with outstanding play by the line, along with superb play by the defensive backs. The line was led by Olaniyan Tatum and Simon Vanderpoel, with great support by the backfield including Elijah Lucero and Armando Loera.
The Generals will try to remain perfect in league play on Friday night, when they take on the McFarland Cougars at Centennial High School.