Taft Union opens season with convincing 56-0 win over Cal City

By Jonah Armstrong

Last FridayTaft Union High School opened the 2021 football season on the road against the California City Ravens.

Going in either team didn't know what to expect from the other since both had had games cancelled a week earlier.

The Wildcats won their away non-league game against the Ravens, 56- 0.

Wildcat Coach Brian Durkan’s offense scored right out the gate in the first quarter with a 1-yard TD by Brock Mizener. Mizener wasn't satisfied just with that.

The defense held the Ravens close to their own 10-yd line.

Chase Gratt on D the line assisted Caleb Kozloski middle linebacker for a sack. Not having enough yards to make a first down, Cal City was forced to punt. Mizener caught the kick, taking it for a 15-yard touchdown.

Taft Union High School

The Cats defense continued to shut down the Ravens offense making the Ravens punt again. The Cats offense took to the field again. Quarterback Jackson Berry, ran in for a short touchdown. Seeming to just warm up the Wildcats ended the first quarter with 21-0.

Into the second quarter Cal City started to put up a much better defense against Taft. Half way through the second quarter Berry saw the opportunity and rushed the ball in for a big 55-yard touchdown run. After the defense came off field Taft’s offense followed up with Berry throwing a 34-yard pass to his wide receiver # 9 Caden McAfee putting the Wildcats on the Ravens goal line leading up for another touchdown for Taft holding a secure 34 to 0 lead.

Defensive coordinator Russ Emberson's defense came out strong in the start of the third quarter of the game. Outside linebacker # 17 Jason Woodards was quick on his feet getting a fumble recovery in Ravens territory. Thanks to Embersons defense this opened the offense up for a fast 22-yard Td rush by Jackson Berry.

Entering the 4th quarter defensive back Richard Jennings intercepted a pass from the Ravens. Turning the ball back over to the Cats offense for wide receiver Bronson Ortlieb making a massive 80-yard touchdown run. Ravens went back on offense but continued to be stonewalled by the defensive line, limiting Cal City’s run game. Seeming to be running out of options against Taft's defense the Ravens made another ditch effort attempting to pass. For Cal City this pass attempt would only be in vain. Kozloski dashed away any last hopes for the Ravens getting on the scoreboard with a clean interception return for a touchdown. This would end the game for the Ravens.

After the game coaches and players joined each other at the end of the field. Durkan and his coaching staff talked with players on how great the team's performance was

“That was a pretty darn good football game.” Durkan said to his team, adding on jokingly that players should talk less on the field. Keeping the compliments short and sweet, Coaches told players how they’ll need to prepare for next week's game against Edwards AFB Desert High school “Gotta be prepared for next week.” Josh Bryant said.

Emberson added on saying how the Desert Scorpions will be a much more organized team. Once more the Cats will be “...going in blind” said Durkan since the Cats will not have any film to help prep the team.