The Shafter High Generals dropped another one-point contest on Friday night, losing to the Taft Wildcats on Homecoming night, 29-28. This is the second week in a row that the Generals have lost a game by the minimal margin, after a 35-34 loss to Chavez.
The Generals started off strong with a good first half, beginning with a touchdown run by Koa Rhodes, who ended the game with 198 yards rushing with three touchdowns.
Freshman quarterback Ezekiel Osborne threw for 105 yards, 7 completions on 14 attempts.
Shafter took a 21-7 lead in the second quarter when Christopher Espinoza ran the ball in from 12 yards out. The Generals' defense did an efficient job in the first half, keeping the Wildcats out of the end zone except for one score.
But, in a repeat of last week's game, the Generals' defense allowed the Wildcats back in the game, allowing three scores in the third quarter. Shafter didn't make one stop on a series in the third quarter, letting Taft score on three straight possessions. This was due to poor tackling, blown coverages, and not being able to control the line of scrimmage.
In the fourth quarter, Osborne connected on a touchdown pass to put the Generals up 28-22, with just a few minutes left in the game. But, once again, the Wildcats were successful in moving the ball on the Generals' defense, scoring with under two minutes left in the contest. With the extra point, the Wildcats took the lead 29-28. They were also helped with a large discrepancy in penalties, with the Generals penalized over 100 yards more than the Wildcats in the game.
The Generals were hurt on their last two drives of the game on offense with Osborne throwing an interception, and on their last drive of the game, they were hurt by a penalty, followed by a personal foul penalty on Coach Jerald Pierucci for arguing with the officials on the calls, which cost Shafter 15 yards.
With the loss, the Generals drop to 0-2 in the SSL. They will try to get their first league win of the season when they travel to McFarland on Friday night. The Cougars are the newcomers to the SSL, replacing Arvin, who moved to the SEYL.