The Shafter and Bakersfield Christian high school football teams entered Friday night as near mirror images of one another.
Both squads feature balanced offenses. They each boast quarterbacks averaging more than 140 yards passing each game. And, perhaps most important, they owned matching unblemished records in South Sequoia League play this year.
But that was entering Friday.
Following a 52-42, come-from-behind win in Shafter last night, only the Eagles remain unbeaten and alone atop the league standings.
Trailing by as many as 10 in the second half and by four with less than 10 minutes to go in the game, Bakersfield Christian stuck with Shafter long enough to take advantage of late mistakes, such as a pair of interceptions -- one of which was returned 55 yards for a score -- and a muffed punt that left the Eagles on their opponent's 3-yard line.
In the end, Bakersfield Christian (5-1, 3-0 SSL) scored 20 unanswered points -- all in the fourth quarter -- to derail Shafter's near game-long lead.
Eagles linebacker Grant Bouma picked off Generals quarterback Kyle Millwee twice in the fourth quarter, including the one that brought BCHS within four points with about 10 minutes to go.
Less than a minute later, Shafter's punt team failed to get the kickoff and turned the ball over on its own 3. It took Matt Smith (74 yards and two scores) just one play to score.
Having shaken a 31-7 opening-day loss to Ontario Christian, BCHS has won five straight games and now leads the SSL by a game over Shafter.
BCHS also snapped the Generals' (6-1, 2-1) six-game winning streak as the Eagles head to Wasco -- which is a half-game out of first at 2-0 in league play -- next week.
Millwee, despite the turnovers, threw for nearly 500 yards and five touchdowns. In fact, he had 330 yards and four scores in the first half alone.
Millwee's favorite target, Derrick Barton, recorded 277 yards receiving, finding the end zone four times.