Taft Union High school beat Arvin 34-17 Friday to wrap up a truncated regular season at 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the South Sequoia League.
The game swung on a blocked field goal by the Wildcats that gave them a touchdown as time ran out in the first half and a fourth quarter interception in the end zone that stopped an Arvin bid to make it a one-score game.
The Wildcats will move into the CIF playoffs as the No. 1 seed in Div. VI despite a fifth place finish in the SSL.
The Cats won the toss and deferred to Arvin.
The Bears' Zach Look took the kickoff out to the 32 to start the first drive.
On third down Wildcat Jayce Moore intercepted a pass from Arvin quarterback Anthony Sarabia with 13 seconds into the game.
The Wildcats start their first drive at their own 40.
Quarter back Jackson Berry broke off a long run to the Arvin 21.
Two plays later on third down on Arvin 14 Caleb Kozloski ran the ball for a gain of 3 picking up first down for the Cats.
Berry scored on an 11 yard run with 8:57 left in the first quarter to give Taft a quick 6-0 lead
when the PAT failed.
The. Bears would start their second possession on their own 28.
At 5:20 in the first quarter at the Wildcats 27 on first down the Cats got a personal foul that pushed them back to their 12 bringing the Bears closer to Taft's end zone. Arvin would make a Touchdown at 4:11. Arvin kicked for a PAT to go up 7-6.
The Cats started their new drive from their 37. With just 1:30 left in the first on third down at the Cat's 42 with 10 to go. Berry threw to Cyris Gaylord for a 13 yard pass moving the chains to the Arvin 30. The first would end with the Cats still in possession of the ball at the Arvin 6. On the Cats first play of the second Andrew Sherrell would take the hand off diving into the end zone for the Wildcats second touchdown. Taft would try for a two point conversion pass but failed.
At 3:15 on the Bears first drive in the second quarter the Bears would push the ball to the Cats 6 on second down. Arvin would pick up a first down at the Cats 1 but on the next play were flagged for an illegal shift bringing them back to the 6. The Bears on second and two a run up the middle for their second touchdown to take back the lead with 14-12.
Taft made a huge special teams play at the end of the first half to retake the lead.
With 10 seconds left in the first half Arvin had the ball the Taft 13 Sarabia attempted a pass to Jonathan Moreno that went incomplete out of bounds stopping the clock stopping at 2.5 seconds to play. Arvin attempted a field goal but the kick was blocked by Brock Mizener. Mizener picked up the ball not knowing it was still in play yet as the clock had run. There was a scramble for the ball and Mizener picked it up near midfield and ran for the touchdown with no time remaining in the half.
. Taft went for the two point conversion with Bradley Reaves throwing to Richard Jennings, putting the Cats up 20-14 at the end of the first.
Unlike previous games against Shafter and Chavez, where they squandared opportunies near the goalline Taft made a big play on fourth down in the red zone to expand their lead.
In the third quarter at 3:13 the Cats had the ball at the Bears 20 with on fourth and 11
Berry completed a touchdown pass to Reaves and Taft led 27-14.
Midway through the fourth period Arvin had a first and goal and was threatening to cut the Taft lead to six points, but Moore came up with his second interception of the game to stop the threat.
The Wildcats took over at their own 20 and quickly put the game out of reach
Berry pulled off another big run to put the ball deep in Arvin territory and then closed out the scoring with his second touchdown run with 2:54 remaining.