Taft starts off against Golden Valley

After weeks of working on their game, the Taft varsity football team will put their practices to use Friday night when they kick off the 2013 season against Golden Valley in Bakersfield.

“I think it’s going to be a competitive game,” said Taft coach Jarudd Prosser.

While the game may be competitive, it is going to be two different styles of offense going up against each other with the Wildcats running the ball and Golden Valley doing the opposite.

“They’re going to air it out,” he said.

Out of the players on the Golden Valley team the one that Taft has to look out for is junior captain, Jachi Harrell, who is a wide receiver, defensive tackle and kick returner.

“If we can do a good job on Harrell we’ll be okay,” said Prosser.

Last year, Harrell was second on the Golden Valley team in receiving with 32 catches for 467 yards with two touchdowns. Along with his 12 tackles on defense, Harrell had three kickoff returns for 116 yards with his longest being 82 yards.

Stopping Harrell is not the only key to the game according to Prosser.

“We’ve got to be able to run the ball,” he said.

In order to accomplish that goal, the Wildcats may be doing it without one of their running backs in Joshua Tiger who is a game time decision due to an illness.

On the defensive side of the ball one of the keys is to get to the quarterback.

“When we blitz we got to get to the quarterback,” said Prosser. “I think it’s important to get to him, rattle him. Both quarterbacks are pretty good.”

While the first game season could be a launching point for a team it is no different than another game for Prosser.

“The way we approach it is just like any other game,” he said.

Over the past several years, the away team between Golden Valley and Taft has won the game.

Last year, Taft had built a 31-26 lead at the half before the Bulldogs came back to win the game 41-31 in Taft.

No matter how the game goes or how big the point difference is, Prosser says the team will not change their strategy.

“There won’t be a whole lot of change,” he said. “We need to run the ball. We would be content to run the ball the entire game.”

Tiger is not the only Wildcat player who might be out. Zack Huckins will not play while Seth Faagau is also a game time decision.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.