Raiders win by seven points

If one could describe the Taft junior varsity football team’s inaugural season in the Valley Youth Football League they would describe it as a one of swings. The latest swing for the Wildcatters saw them lose their second straight game Saturday afternoon when they fell to the California City Raiders 13-6.

With the loss, Taft ends the first half of the season with a record of 2-2.

Defense was the story of the game early when Louie Contreras recovered a fumble after a bad snap by California City on the Raiders first drive of the game at the California City 36-yard line.

The series didn’t last after Kristopher Downey intercepted a pass on fourth down and returned it for a touchdown with 1:03 remain in the first quarter. Taft was unable to add onto the lead after the two point kick was blocked.

Taft’s offense had another opportunity at the start of the second quarter when Jackson Berry recovered a fumble at the Taft 43-yard line 46 seconds into the quarter.

The excitement didn’t last after California City’s Jacob Rangel returned a punt four plays later for a touchdown with 3:27 to go. The score remained tied after the extra point try was intercepted.

Taft threatened to retake the lead early in the third quarter when they drove to the California City 36-yard line. However, the drive came to a sudden end a couple of plays later when Miguel Arias recovered a fumble.

The Raiders threatened to break through by driving to the Taft one yard line. Instead of scoring, California City eventually turned the ball over on downs.

Taking advantage of great field position at the Taft 34 yard line, the Raiders finally broke the tie in the fourth quarter when Zarias Rose ran two yards for the score with 4:53 to go. California City followed up with an extra point run.

Taft had a chance to even up the score or even win the game when they advanced the ball to the Raiders 32 yard line but the Wildcatters hope evaporated two plays later on JaiLen Wilson’s interception with 1:07 remaining.

After a week off next week, the Wildcatters return to action Saturday, Oct. 3 when they take on Arvin to begin the second half of league play.