Taft will come to the mountain Friday night on a quest to win their first game in Tehachapi since 1992. The Wildcats have been led this season
by senior running back #21 Cody Shirreffs (above) who has scored 15 TD's. Photo courtesy of The Bakersfield Californian

SSL Ramblings ...
Taft Invades Tehachapi Friday Seeking
First SSL Crown Since 2004

Posted by thswarriors.com on October 27, 2009

The highly touted Taft Wildcats will be coming to Tehachapi Friday night looking to knock off the Warriors and pave the way to a probable 2009 South Sequoia League crown. Taft comes to the mountain with an impressive season record of 6-1 and a 2-0 record in SSL play.

Taft last won the SSL in 2004, and after the Warrior game, have two games remaining against Shafter and Bakersfield Christian. Both the Generals and Golden Eagles are struggling this season --- meaning Taft will be heavy favorites in win those games.

Taft is flying high after demolishing Wasco last week 42-0. The Wildcats also have quality wins this year over Exeter, 30-13, and Porterville, 28-6. Taft suffered their only loss of the season at Templeton, 24-21, in the season opener.

Much like the Warriors, veteran coach Steve Sprague loves to run the football. This season Taft senior Cody Shirreffs is getting the majority of the carries as his season statistics stack up at 155 carries for 1,355 yards rushing for 15 TD's. The Wildcat offense is led by senior quarterback Hunter Liljeroos. The 6'2" Liljeroos, when not running the football himself, has completed 17 of 34 passes this season for 3 TD's.

But the real story for the 2009 Wildcats is their stingy defense. Taft has allowed just 10 TD's in 7 games this season. Seniors Blake Emberson and Jordan Vermillion have been all over the field stifling opposing offenses. The imposing Emberson, a 6' 2" 215 pound defensive end, leads the Wildcats with 76 tackles this season. Vermillion, a linebacker, has 72 tackles on the year.

Taft has not defeated Tehachapi on the mountain since 1992. Taft is looking for some revenge after the Warriors defeated Taft last year in Taft, 41-13. The Warriors lead the overall series 11-7 since the two schools resumed their long time rivalry in 1990.

The weather is expected to be clear, but cool. Come early to the game for a good seat as a very large crowd is expected for this potential SSL championship deciding game.

Warrior PAT specialist Jake Reimer pops another kick through the uprights in a recent game. Before his non football injury several weeks ago,
Reimer was 14 for 15 in PAT kicks this season. Warrior fans are hoping Reimer can return to the gridiron within the next few weeks.

Reimer, Olofson, and Frontier

Special teams star Jake Reimer continues to recover from a non-football injury he suffered a number of weeks ago. The Warrior faithfull are hoping Reimer will return to action next week against Wasco. Reimer handles the kickoff and PAT duties for the Warriors. Before his injury, he had knocked 14 PAT's in 15 attempts through the uprights for the Warriors.

Senior Warrior running back Jesse Olofson is putting up some lofty numbers for the Warriors this season. Through seven games, Olofson has 150 carries for 1,120 rushing yards, and has scored 17 TD's. His longest run for a touchdown this season is 78 yards. With his next touchdown, Olofson will surpass Rudy Muro (1951) on the all-time Warrior leader board for most points scored in a season. Olofson is currently at 106 --- and the legendary Muro sits #14 all-time at 109.

Frontier continued their winning ways this past week with a 36-10 win over Highland. Frontier is now 7-0 for the season and is ranked #10 by the Bakersfield Californian and #15 by the Fresno Bee in the Central Section. The Titans embarrassed the Warriors at home in their only loss of the season, 43-14, in Week 3 of the season. The last Warrior loss that bad at home? Way back in 1995, a 50-14 drubbing by Centennial High of Bakersfield.

Around the SSL This Week ...

In other SSL games this past week, the Warriors improved to 2-0 in SSL play with a win over BCHS; as previously mentioned, Taft shutout Wasco 42-0; and Shafter defeated Arvin 23-19.

It will be interesting to see how Wasco responds this week against Arvin after the heartbreaking loss to Taft this past week. Bakersfield Christian (2-5; 0-2 in SSL) will play Arvin (1-6; 0-2 in SSL) in a game that could determine the cellar dweller in the SSL.

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